We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Benefits of Physiotherapy for Sciatica?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

One of the best natural ways to relieve sciatica pain is to stretch and exercise regularly. Many sciatica patients go through physical therapy to teach them pain-relieving exercises and stretches. Physiotherapy for sciatica often incorporates other techniques, such as ultrasound and heat therapy, to relieve pain and tension.

The main goal of treatment, including physiotherapy for sciatica, is to relieve pain. Resting for 24 to 48 hours after a sciatica flare-up can help relieve the most severe pain, but immobility for long periods usually makes pain worse and weakens the back. Physical therapists suggest and often incorporate low-impact exercises, such as biking and swimming, into sciatica patients’ treatment programs to help them stay mobile and active without putting too much pressure or strain on their backs. Swimming is particularly helpful as it is easier for patients to move and support themselves in the water.

Physiotherapy for sciatica can also teach patients how to stretch to relive pressure on the sciatic nerve. Therapists show patients how to stretch safely by moving slowly and only to the point of a light pulling feeling instead of over-stretching to the point of discomfort or pain. Stretches may be performed while lying on the back or stomach; or, from a seated position depending on what is most comfortable for the patient. Regular stretching also helps loosen and strengthen the core and back muscles and improves flexibility, which can help make future flare-ups less severe for some sciatica sufferers.

Strengthening exercises help stabilize the back and core muscles. When these muscles are strong, they help support the back more effectively. This reduces the risk of further injury. Patients undergoing physiotherapy for sciatica are often taught several different strengthening exercises to continue to perform on their own at home. These exercises focus mainly on the abdominals, hips, and hamstrings.

Hot and cold therapy techniques can help minimize acute sciatica pain. These treatments may be applied as part of a therapy program. Hot therapies increase blood flow, which can help reduce muscle spasms that might be responsible for a pinched or compressed sciatic nerve. Cold therapy numbs the painful area temporarily and helps reduce swelling.

Physical therapists also use massage to help loosen muscles and relieve pain. Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves that penetrate to the deep tissues of the back and legs to create heat and reduce stiffness and pain. Some therapists use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units to relieve pain. These units send bursts of electrical currents directly to painful areas through sticky pads placed on the body to reduce muscle spasms and stimulate the body’s release of endorphins to minimize pain.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.