Sciatica – Lumbar Radiculopathy


What is it?      

Sciatica is a medical term used to describe irritation of the sciatic nerve characterized by pain that can start from the low back traveling through the buttock and down to the lower leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body and originates from the lower spine and travels through the buttock all the way down to the each foot. It serves an important role in connecting the spinal cord to the hip, thigh, leg, and foot muscles.

Main Symptoms

  • Pain, numbness, tingling, burning, in buttock, thigh, leg or foot
  • Weakness of buttock, thigh, leg or foot(foot drop)

What causes it?23117022 - sciatica

  • Abnormal pelvic or spine alignment and mobility caused by
    • Impaired strength and stability in abdomen, hip, thigh, and leg muscles along with other supportive structures
    • Tightness and decreased flexibility of low back muscles, hip flexors, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, quads, and calves
  • Piriformis muscle spasms
  • Lumbar nerve root irritation caused by
    • Bulging discs (disc herniation)
    • Narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal where the spinal cord is located
    • Arthritis and degeneration of joints
    • Slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis)

What should you do?

  • Get a thorough orthopedic examination from MD, physical therapist, or chiropractor
  • Get imaging if necessary: MRI, X-ray, CT scan, EMG/NCV

How to Treat it?

  • Reduce pain and inflammation
    • Ice, heat, massage, medication
    • Modalities: ultrasound, laser treatment, electrical stimulation
  • Correct alignment and motion
    • Massage, stretches, soft tissue and joint mobilizations and manipulation, decompression therapy
    • Postural awareness with everyday activities
  • Strengthening and stabilization with specific therapeutic exercises


Written by Hiroki Yokoyama – PT, DPT, CSCShiroki
ProSport Physical Therapy & Performance
2777 Bristol Street, Suite B, Costa Mesa, CA 92626


1 Comment

  1. Alex Roberts on

    Thank you so much for this valuable information.

    It is people like you that really make a difference in the lives of people with sciatica.

    I suffered for 12 years from sciatica and nothing I tried worked.

    Drugs, nutrition, all types of doctors…you name it–the suffering never really went away.

    Fortunately, I found out about a natural way that finally got rid of my sciatica for good.

    This article talks about it…

    Hope it helps and keep up the good work!

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