Physical Therapy Relieves Sciatic Pain

Sciatica, a common condition in patients with low-back pain, causes numbness, tingling, and radiating pain extending from the buttocks down the back of the leg.

In an analysis of a recent study, researchers found that physical therapy is a great way to relieve the pain of sciatica. The positive results from physical therapy sessions are both immediate as well as long-term.

The study included 165 patients suffering from moderate to severe sciatic pain. After just one physical therapy session, 85% of the patients reported reduced radiating leg pain.

Centralization is a key to helping sciatica patients. This happens when the radiating leg pain that is associated with sciatica retreats to the spine, where the pain originated, resulting in decreased radiating symptoms.

After three months of physical therapy, all of the patients in the study reported less leg pain and an improvement in performance of daily activities. The 85% who experienced immediate pain relief had the best results, but even patients who did not experience centralization after the first session reported a positive outcome from physical therapy in their follow-up.

Because most of the patients in the study experienced centralization, the researchers concluded that physical therapy can reduce sciatic pain for all patients, no matter what type of disc lesion is causing the pain.

At Oregon Medical Centers, we have been using physical therapy to relieve pain in our Aloha and Beaverton patients for several years. Helping sciatica patients is just one of our many specialties. Through a combination of chiropractic care and physical therapy, we can provide both immediate and long-term relief of sciatica and lower back pain.


Albert H, Hauge E, and Manniche M. Centralization in patients with sciatica: are pain responses to repeated movement and positioning associated with outcome or types of disc lesions? European Spine Journal201; DOI 10.1007/s00586-011-2018-9.

Albert, Hanne and Claus Manniche. The efficacy of systematic active conservative treatment for patients with severe sciatica.: A single-blind randomized clinical controlled trial. Spine 2011; doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31821ace7f.

April 22, 2013