Making sense of sciatica 

Sciatica is a type of nerve pain affecting the sciatic nerve that travels from your lower back and down your legs.

Sciatica happens when something in your body pinches or puts extra pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing shooting pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, legs, ankles, and feet. Some of the most common causes of sciatica include disc lesions or narrowing of the spinal canal. With proper treatment, symptoms of sciatica typically improve within 6 weeks. To prevent sciatica from occurring, it is recommended that individuals incorporate exercise focusing on both strengthening and mobility.


What does sciatica feel like?

Sciatica is a type of pain that travels down the sciatic nerve, branching from your lower back and down each leg to the tips of the toes. Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the body and symptoms can vary from person to person.
Some of the most common symptoms of sciatica include: 
  • Burning, aching, or throbbing pain down the back of the legs
  • Numbness and tingling down the back of the legs 
  • Shooting pain down the back of the legs
  • Weakness in the hamstrings, lower legs, ankles, or feet

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. When something in your body pinches or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain and numbness that travels down your lower body. 

The most common causes of sciatic nerve pain are: 

  • Disc lesions (herniated or bulging discs)
  • Stenosis (narrowing of the spaces within your spine)
  • Spondylolisthesis (spinal vertebrae moves forward on the vertebrae below)
  • Pregnancy (increased pressure on the sciatic nerve as the uterus grows)

How do you treat sciatica to ease pain?

We begin with a complete assessment of each patient to determine what positions and movements seem to aggravate or relieve their sciatic pain.
From there, we explore comfortable resting positions, pain-free movement strategies and provide a customized exercise program to release pressure off of the sciatic nerve. We also provide therapist-administered manual therapy for pain relief.
Some treatment strategies that we typically suggest to help patients manage their sciatic pain at home include:
  • Utilizing a hip-hinge and bracing strategy when bending or getting in and out of a chair
  • Utilizing a “log roll” and bracing strategy when rolling in bed
  • Going for short walks 2 to 3 times per day

How do you prevent sciatica?

Many factors contribute to whether or not you are at risk of getting sciatica, including your genetics, age, emotional stress, physical fitness, nutrition, and even your occupation.
However, research has shown that the best way to reduce your risk of getting sciatica is to live a balanced life that includes adequate exercise, healthy eating, and proper stress management.

The Bridge model consists of three pillars

Relieve pain

Injury treatment and management to relieve pain, including physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic treatment.

get stronger

We introduce strength and mobility exercises to build tolerance to the demands of your activity and to develop more efficient movement patterns, making sure you don’t get hurt again.

improve performance

Performance or return to sport training: Is the last part of our model and reserved for those needing to return to a competitive sport or wanting to train at a higher level.

Contact us today and learn how our team can help you build a recovery plan, in person or virtually.

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Book a session at one of our three locations in Edmonton and Sherwood Park.

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