Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Low back pain and sciatica are two extremely common ailments. Numerous studies have shown that over 80% of the working population will miss at least one day of work due to severe low back pain. Fortunately, the vast majority make a full recovery without any medical treatment. For those that do need assistance recovering from back pain or sciatica issues, the therapists at iPOW Physical Therapy & Wellness are skilled at identifying the root cause of the problem and designing individualized programs to resolve the issue naturally, without drugs, injections, or surgery.

The most common cause of low back pain and sciatica (pain or numbness that extends to the buttock or down the leg) is compression of the nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord. For those under 40 years of age, this compression is often due to the temporary displacement of one or more of the cartilage discs that lie between vertebrae (spinal bones). Common terms for this condition are:

  • Herniated Disc
  • Slipped Disc
  • Pinched Nerve
  • Protruding Disc
  • Bulging Disc
  • Blown Disc

For those over 40 years of age, compression of spinal nerve roots is frequently caused by the gradual decrease in disc height that occurs as we age. Common terms for this condition are:

  • Lumbar Stenosis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Degenerative arthritis

While these conditions are similar in that they both involve nerve compression, they require different treatment approaches. For this reason, it is critical that the cause of nerve compression be correctly identified.

One additional note: To those unfamiliar with medical terminology, the labels given to some of these conditions can create alarm and suggest the need for invasive (surgical) treatment. This is unfortunate, as these conditions typically respond well to conservative treatment (physical therapy) and, if managed effectively, rarely lead to prolonged limitation.

A third, less common, cause of low back pain and sciatica is sacro-iliac (SI) joint misalignment. The SI joint is located where the spine joins the pelvis. Occasionally, due to trauma (think car wreck) or extreme movement, the SI joint can become misaligned. This misalignment may stress nearby structures causing intense pain and/or sciatica.  

How does physical therapy help?

The therapists at iPOW Physical Therapy & Wellness Physical Therapy & Wellness will do a thorough assessment to determine the root cause of your low back pain or sciatica and use natural treatment methods to reduce pain and inflammation. Once the root cause of your issue has been identified, they will select and introduce specific exercises to designed to help your body remedy the problem on its own. They may also use manual therapy to facilitate proper alignment of any misaligned structures. Finally, they will equip you with the tools and information you need to address any flare ups or reoccurrences on your own.

If you suffer from low back pain or sciatica, contact iPOW Physical Therapy & Wellness today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors of physical therapy. They'll help you determine the best course of treatment for your condition!