Sciatica and Back Pain

Sciatica is a layman term for any pain that occurs along the sciatic nerve tract. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that originates from the nerve roots of the lumbar spine and traverses through many structures of the hip, leg and foot.

Even though sciatica is a common condition, many people still misunderstand what may be causing it. The pain can vary greatly in severity, from mild to severe and it can last days to years. The symptoms of sciatica are actually not a medical diagnosis. Instead, sciatica is usually a symptom of a more specific diagnosis.

Those who suffer from sciatica often find themselves feeling most of the pain in one of their legs. The pain from their spine manifests itself in a radiating fashion throughout the lower half of the body. But the problem can come from pinching of the nerve roots in the lumbar spine or entrapments of the nerve in the piriformis, hamstring, calf muscles, and structures in the foot.

It can be entrapped in one of these areas or multiple areas. This is why a thorough history and exam must be done to diagnose where the problem is coming from. If one of these areas of entrapment are missed, it could be the difference of suffering from sciatic pain from a few weeks to a few years.

Sciatica Treatment in NYC

Integrative Spine & Sports provides sciatica treatment in Manhattan, NYC at our Upper West Side spine and sports medicine practice.

We offer non-surgical options for the treatment of sciatica, with an integrative approach that may include:

  • Education: we teach patients proven ways to avoid aggravating their condition, alleviating their pain and accelerating their recovery
  • Chiropractic: is shown to be one of the most effective ways of diagnosing and treating Sciatica or sciatica like symptoms.
  • Physiotherapy: we guide and engage our patients in physiotherapy sessions which target specific areas in their lower body for maximum results.
  • Massage therapy: when the pain becomes too much to handle, we treat our patients with specialized massage therapy, such as Active Release Technique, proven as an effective way to relieve pain and free the entrapped nerve.
  • Corticosteroids: When conservative treatment fails or the pain is too much to handle, corticosteroids are used to get the patient on the road to recovery faster.

Non-surgical treatment for sciatica is one of the most highly effective courses of treatment, which most of our patients opt for.

By visiting an integrated health clinic such as Integrated Spine & Sports, a team of specialists  can come up with a full range of options to best serve the patient’s pain management and recovery goals. Our integrative specialists will help get you better faster.

Our team, consisting of a board-certified physiatrist, chiropractors, and physical therapists, offer a comprehensive treatment approach for acute and chronic sciatica treatment in NYC, on the upper west side and midtown. Most of our patients can feel relief after only a few weeks of treatment.

We use a holistic approach focused on:

  • Diagnosing
  • Educating
  • Alleviating pain
  • Restoring function
  • Preventing recurrence
  • Physical optimization

We do all this while equipping you with the information you need to prevent future injury and pain.

Back Pain Specialists

Our back pain specialists in Manhattan create custom treatments designed to meet the needs of people suffering from acute pain due to injury, as well as those experiencing chronic conditions affecting the muscles, discs, soft tissue and nerves within the back, cervical spine, and neck.

Our integrative team, consisting of a board-certified physiatrist, chiropractors, and physical therapists, offers comprehensive treatment for acute and chronic back pain treatment in NYC.

What are the signs & symptoms of sciatica?

Common signs & symptoms of sciatica:

  • Muscle weakness in the leg
  • Numbness
  • Shooting pain
  • Foot pain
  • Plantar fasciatis-like symptoms
  • Pain in the butt
  • Tingling or a feeling of “pins and needles” throughout the leg region
  • Increasing pain radiating downwards from the buttocks throughout the thighs and calves

Often, sciatica goes away on its own. But if not diagnosed correctly, and activities modified, it is likely to return.

How do I know if my sciatica is serious?

In most cases, sciatica is not serious, especially if self-care measures are taken to ease the symptoms.

Although the condition is painful, it’s important to remember that this condition very rarely presents any permanent nerve damage. Dealing with the symptoms sooner rather than later can often mean a full and fast recovery.

But if self-care measures do not help, and the pain lasts for longer than 1 week, or worsens progressively, patients must call their doctor immediately.

We recommend consulting a Physiatrist or Chiropractor as soon as possible if you experience sciatica with any of the following:

  • Sudden, severe pain in their low back or leg
  • Muscle weakness or numbness in their leg
  • Loss of Bowel or bladder control

Most times, sciatica can be caused by bad posture or prolonged sitting. In such cases, it usually goes away after a period of several days if you modify the activity that causes it. If your sciatica doesn’t improve after 1 week of modified activity, consult your doctor or team at Integrative Spine & Sports as soon as possible.

What are the causes of sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is “pinched”, likely because of a herniated disc or entrapped nerve in the muscles of the butt, legs and foot.

It can be brought on by any number of conditions, including trauma or repetitive work such as lifting heavy items or sitting for long periods of time. However, this is by no means a comprehensive list.

Sciatica is often a primary indicator that something more serious is happening to the body, so it’s important to watch closely and see if other symptoms arise that can pinpoint the condition.

  • Age. Over time, our bodies experience a wear and tear which takes a toll on the bone tissue and discs in our spine. This can compress the sciatic nerve, which can lead to sciatica.
  • Injury to spine/lower back. Patients with a history of injury in their spine or lower back are at greater risk of sciatica.
  • Obesity. An excess of weight can subject the spine to more pressure than it can handle, which can pinch the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica.
  • Occupation. Active, physical jobs that involve heavy lifting or twisting of the back may increase one’s risk of low back problems.
  • Sedentary lifestyle. An inactive lifestyle that involves prolonged sitting or lack of exercise puts one at greater risk of sciatica.
  • Weak core. The core is responsible for keeping the upper body upright by supporting the spine. A weak core can subject the spine to extra pressure, putting one at greater risk of sciatica.

Sometimes, sciatica can occur as a symptom of a more serious medical condition. In such cases, it’s unwise to let sciatica heal on its own.

Unlike with mild cases of sciatica, delaying medical help can aggravate the pain and induce more serious, long-lasting effects.

If you’ve experienced any of the following, consult your doctor immediately:

  • Herniated disc – a spine injury that often occurs after a single excessive strain on the spine
  • Degenerative disc disease – happens when one or more of the discs in the spinal column breaks down, often due to age or when bearing too much weight
  • Diabetes – affects the way our bodies use blood sugar, which can put one at risk of nerve damage
  • Osteoarthritis – can happen due to eroding cartilage and inflammation
  • Spinal stenosis – can happen when the spinal canal narrows due to degeneration

These are some of more common conditions that can cause sciatica. They all affect the structural integrity of the spine in some way, which can lead not only to sciatica, but other more serious complications as well.

Sciatica FAQs

Does acupuncture cure lower sciatica?2022-01-24T21:18:18+00:00

Substantial research shows that acupuncture can provide short-term pain relief for sciatica. Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system in a way that encourages our brain to increase blood flow, relax muscles, and release natural painkillers like endorphins and enkephalins. All these things combined can help alleviate pain.

How long does sciatica last?2022-01-24T21:17:52+00:00

Sciatica often goes away in 4 to 6 weeks without serious complications with activity modification. In more serious cases, however, sciatica can last from months to years if left untreated. If the pain doesn’t get better or gets progressively worse, we recommend consulting a physiatrist or chiropractor for easy, non-surgical treatment options that are proven to alleviate pain.

What can I do to relieve my sciatica?2022-01-24T21:17:29+00:00

If doing gentle back stretches doesn’t do the trick, then try strengthening your core so your spine isn’t struggling to stay upright. Heat therapy and cold therapy can also work well for pain relief. If your sciatica is a result of poor posture or a bad workstation setup, make the necessary changes to avoid sciatica in the future.

How should I sleep with sciatica?2022-01-24T21:16:42+00:00

A common complaint of sciatica is that the pain can get worse in certain positions such as when lying down to go to sleep.

The best way to sleep with sciatica is directly on one’s back with a pillow under your knees. This keeps the natural curve of the spine and prevents inflammation and pain. We also recommend putting pillows underneath the neck, low back, and knees for additional support of the spine.

The worst way to sleep with sciatica is on one’s stomach. Sleeping on one’s stomach puts the spine at a downward angle, and puts undue pressure on the spine.

Is sciatica a symptom of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?2022-01-24T21:16:17+00:00

No, sciatica is not a symptom of COVID-19. But it’s important to know that having the symptoms of COVID-19 can cause sciatica indirectly. COVID-19 can cause patients to live a sedentary lifestyle due to weakness and fatigue. This inactivity can affect the spine, putting the patient at risk of sciatica.

We provide our patients with an integrated and holistic team approach to getting better.

We provide our patients with an integrated and holistic team approach to getting better.

Conditions Treated

We treat individuals suffering from a variety of acute injuries as well as chronic conditions.

Services & Treatments

Our focus is on promoting healing, restoring function and alleviating pain for patients.

Book an Appointment

We offer two convenient locations for patients: the Upper West Side or Madison Avenue.

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