If you are looking for sciatica treatment in Visalia, always see a physical therapist first for sciatica symptoms.
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the entire body. It runs from the each side of the lower spine through the buttock and into the thigh, all the way down to the foot. This nerve serves an important role in communicating messages from the spinal cord to the legs and feet, and when it’s damaged, a problem called sciatica can come about.
Sciatica is not necessarily a medical diagnosis itself, but a set of symptoms that are related to an issue with the lower back. Common lower back problems that can cause sciatica include a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis. In each of these conditions, the sciatic nerve becomes either irritated or compressed, which brings about symptoms.
The most common sciatica symptoms include the following:
- Constant pain on only one side of the buttock or leg pain that gets worse with sitting
- A burning, stinging or searing pain in the leg
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg, foot or toes
- Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot
- A sharp pain that makes it difficult to stand or walk
If you happen to notice any of these symptoms, you may be dealing with a lower back condition that is causing sciatica. Although some individuals with sciatica may be under the impression that surgery is necessary to fix it, the truth is that physical therapy is usually just as effective and will save patients from many of the troubles of surgery. In fact, the findings of a recent study show that both surgery and non-surgical (conservative) treatment that included physical therapy led to very similar results:
Surgical and conservative treatments had long-term beneficial effects on sciatica symptoms in patients with lumbar disc herniation. Compared with conservative treatment, surgical treatment relieved back pain faster, but no relevant clinical difference was observed after three months.
This study shows that there is no added benefit of having surgery instead of physical therapy for sciatica symptoms. On top of this, surgery is more expensive and associated with many more risks than physical therapy. For these reasons, we strongly encourage you to choose physical therapy first if you happen to notice any symptoms of sciatica.
If you would like more information about how we can help, give us a call.