Physical Therapy in the Treatment of Sciatica

April 7, 2015 in STSMPT

A recent study shows that people with sciatica who receive just five physical therapy visits are five times less likely to need surgery. Researchers followed 180 patients with sciatica, which is pain, numbness or weakness that starts in the lower back and travels down the sciatic nerve to the leg(s). This is often caused by bulging or herniated discs.


The patients were divided into one of two groups: an active physical therapy group and a cardiovascular exercise group. Individuals in the physical therapy group received an average of five sessions with a physical therapist over an eight week period. In addition to being less likely to need surgery, the physical therapy group also experienced a greater improvement in pain level, spent less time off work, and were 20% more likely to report sustained recovery.


Source: Nordin M, Belague F. Exercise may be beneficial for patients with chronic, severe sciatica who would normally qualify for surgery. Evid Based Med. 2013; 18 (2): 63-64.

Sciatica Physical Therapy

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