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Sciatica Treatment in Philadelphia, PA

Sciatica Conditions treatment chiropractor Philadelphia, PA

As chiropractors in Philadelphia, not a day goes by when we don’t have a patient with lower back pain traveling down one or both legs – known as sciatica. Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs, becomes compressed or irritated, resulting in pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the lower back and legs.

Sciatica typically presents as pain that radiates from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, and down one or both legs. The pain can vary in intensity and may be described as sharp, shooting, burning, or aching. Sciatica symptoms usually only affect one side of the body, ranging from mild to severe. The severity of symptoms may depend on the underlying cause of sciatica, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent or severe sciatic pain, as various treatments are available to relieve symptoms and address the condition’s underlying cause.

Sciatica can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, as the pain and other symptoms can interfere with daily activities and reduce overall well-being. It can cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the lower back, hips, and legs, making it difficult to perform daily activities such as walking, standing, and sitting for extended periods. Many patients also experience sleep disturbances, as the pain may make it difficult to get comfortable at night and lead to frequent awakenings. Sciatica can limit mobility and make it difficult to participate in once enjoyable activities, such as exercise, sports, or hobbies.

Sciatica can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, but certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing the condition. Sciatica is more common in people over 40, as the discs in the spine can degenerate or become damaged over time, leading to compression of the sciatic nerve. Jobs that require prolonged sitting, standing, or heavy lifting can increase the risk of developing sciatica, as these activities can put pressure on the lower back and irritate the sciatic nerve. It is also prevalent in people who are overweight and those that lead a sedentary lifestyle.

How We Treat Sciatica in Philadelphia, PA

New patients suffering from low back pain and sciatica will always begin with a New Patient consultation and exam. Our doctors will review your history with you to better understand your condition and how you got to this point. They will take the time to listen to you to discover the impact sciatica has on your life, specifically the things you enjoy doing that you can no longer do. Most patients finally take notice of their pain when they can’t do what they have to do and love to do either totally or partially and simply want to return to normal.

After the consultation, our doctors will perform a thorough exam, including assessing your posture, range of motion, and muscle strength. We will also perform orthopedic and neurological tests to evaluate the function of your nerves and joints. In some cases, our doctors may order imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to evaluate the spine’s condition and rule out any underlying conditions. Once the cause of the problem is detected, one of our doctors will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to the individual needs of the patient. This may include a combination of chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapy, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.

Specific Chiropractic Care

When the vertebrae in the spine are not properly aligned, they can put pressure on the nerves that pass through the spinal column, including the sciatic nerve. This can cause inflammation, irritation, and nerve compression, leading to pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs and lower back. In addition, subluxation can also lead to muscle tension and spasms in the lower back, which can exacerbate the compression of the sciatic nerve. Over time, this can cause degeneration of the nerve and surrounding tissues, leading to chronic sciatic pain.

Chiropractors correct subluxation through various techniques, including spinal adjustments, manual therapies, and other modalities. Subluxation correction aims to restore proper alignment and function to the spinal vertebrae, thereby reducing pressure on the nerves, improving range of motion, and promoting overall health and wellness.

Physical Rehabilitation

When you suffer from sciatica symptoms, you want to get back to life as quickly as possible. The body heals through movement. A customized plan based on your functional assessment will strengthen your muscles, improve your range of motion, and reduce healing times. As you work with one of our chiropractors to restore proper spinal structure, it’s important to retrain your muscles to support that healthy structure. This helps adjustments hold longer and prevents future injury. We’ll work with you in the office and provide at-home sciatica exercises to continue your healing at home.

Common Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica can be caused by a variety of factors that result in irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Here are some common causes of sciatica:

Herniated Disc

A herniated or bulging disc in the lower back can press against the sciatic nerve, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the nerves in the lower back. This can cause sciatic pain, as well as other symptoms such as tingling and weakness in the legs.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is when the discs between the vertebrae in the spine break down over time. This can lead to inflammation and compression of the nerves in the lower back, including the sciatic nerve.


Spondylolisthesis is when one vertebra slips out of place relative to the adjacent vertebrae. This can compress the nerves in the lower back, including the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and other symptoms.

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle in the buttocks becomes tight or spasms, compressing the sciatic nerve and causing pain and other symptoms.

Trauma or Injury

Trauma or injury to the lower back or buttocks can damage the sciatic nerve or surrounding tissues, leading to sciatic pain.


Excess weight can put pressure on the lower back and contribute to the development of sciatica.

Prolonged Sitting

Sitting for extended periods can put pressure on the lower back and contribute to developing sciatica.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I seek chiropractic care or medical care for sciatica?

Chiropractic care can be a safe and effective first-line treatment for sciatica because it focuses on addressing the condition’s underlying cause. Chiropractors are trained to identify subluxations in the spine and other musculoskeletal imbalances that can contribute to sciatic nerve compression and irritation.

By using a combination of spinal adjustments, manual therapies, and other modalities, chiropractors can help reduce inflammation, alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve, and restore proper alignment and function to the spine. Chiropractic care can also help improve flexibility, strength, and mobility in the affected areas, which can help reduce the risk of future sciatic episodes.

Unlike other treatment options, such as medication or surgery, chiropractic care is non-invasive and typically does not have significant side effects. This makes it a safe and effective option for many people with sciatica, including those who may be unable or unwilling to undergo more invasive procedures.

Overall, seeking chiropractic care for sciatica first can help you avoid more aggressive and potentially risky treatments while providing a conservative and holistic approach to addressing the underlying cause of your symptoms.

What is the best treatment for sciatica?

The best sciatica treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Chiropractic care focuses on identifying and correcting that underlying condition. We’ll help improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion while fixing any structural issues to provide natural sciatica pain relief.

What causes sciatica flare-ups?

Sciatica can be triggered by herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, piriformis syndrome, injury or trauma, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. Identifying these underlying causes is essential to get rid of sciatica for good.

What exercises help with sciatica?

Exercise is an important aspect of any sciatica treatment plan, but it’s important to choose exercises that don’t exacerbate the situation. Some sciatica exercises to relieve pain include hamstring stretches, pelvic tilts, and gluteal stretches. Muscles tightness can put extra pressure on the sciatic nerve, so exercises that reduce muscle tension and improve stability of the spine are key.

How should I sleep with sciatica?

Sleeping with sciatica can be challenging because the pain can be exacerbated by certain sleeping positions. However, there are some sleeping positions that may help alleviate sciatica pain:

  • Sleeping on your side: Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees can help to align your hips and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Sleeping on your back: Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees can help to reduce pressure on the lower back and sciatic nerve.
  • Sleeping in a fetal position: Sleeping in a fetal position with a pillow between your knees can help to reduce pressure on the lower back and sciatic nerve.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach: Sleeping on your stomach can put extra pressure on the lower back and exacerbate sciatica pain.