Sciatica Symptoms and Treatment

Sciatica symptoms and the three worst treatments for them

It’s not uncommon for people to develop sciatica. In fact, an article by the Harvard Medical School reports that up to 40% of Americans will develop sciatica during their lifetime. This condition is caused by irritation or pinching of the sciatic nerve, and there are many opportunities for these issues to happen since this nerve is the longest in the body. 

One common way to develop sciatica is having a herniated disc in the lower back. A herniated disc can narrow the space through which the sciatic nerve roots leave the spine. In turn, the lack of space leads to the pinching of these roots. Also, the sciatic nerve can be irritated by muscles rubbing against it as it runs down the back of the thigh. Regardless of its cause, sciatica can lead to several common symptoms.

Common symptoms of sciatica

People who have had sciatica can tell you its common symptoms without much trouble, but you might not know what they are if you haven’t yet had this back issue. Some common symptoms of this nerve issue include: 

  • Pain — Often, sciatica pain feels like a burning or shocking sensation. It typically runs from the lower back and down the leg, and it’s usually confined to one side of the body.
  • Unusual sensations — Besides pain, sciatica can also lead to sensations like numbness and tingling. These sensations can be felt in any part of the lower body supplied by the sciatic nerve. 
  • Weakness — Sciatica patients can also experience difficulty lifting their legs or feet. This feeling of weakness can make activities like walking or sitting down harder to do. 

Three treatments you should avoid using for sciatica symptoms

There are many treatment options that can help reduce your sciatica symptoms, but there are three that you should avoid: 

  1. Sitting — Resting might seem like a good treatment for sciatica, but sitting is a form of rest that can do more harm than good. This is especially true if you sit with poor posture because sitting slumped over puts more pressure on the lower back vertebrae. In turn, the added pressure can cause increased pinching of the sciatic nerve. 
  1. Some lower body exercises — Some exercises normally used to strengthen the lower body and core should be avoided if you have sciatica. Some examples include leg circles, bent-over rows and leg lifts. 
  1. Lying in the fetal position — People whose sciatica pain becomes severe when lying down should avoid lying in the fetal position. Instead, lying flat on your back could be a less painful alternative. 

SOL Physical Therapy offers effective treatments for sciatica symptoms

You don’t have to treat your sciatic symptoms on your own. Our team at SOL Physical Therapy is here to help you find effective sciatica symptoms treatment. We offer free screenings to reveal the root cause of your sciatica. Our team can also build you an individualized treatment plan, and your plan could include beneficial therapy methods such as: 


Take the next step to start getting relief from your sciatica symptoms. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment. 

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

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