Adam C. Young, MD
Alan C. League, MD
Albert Knuth, MD
Alejandra Rodriguez-Paez, MD
Alexander E. Michalow, MD
Alexander Gordon, MD
Alexander J. Tauchen, MD
Alexander M. Crespo, MD
Alfonso Bello, MD
Ami Kothari, MD
Amy Jo Ptaszek, MD
Anand Vora, MD
Andrea S. Kramer, MD
Andrew J. Riff, MD
Angela R. Crowley, MD
Angelo Savino, MD
Anthony Savino, MD
Anuj S. Puppala, MD
Ari Kaz, MD
Ashraf H. Darwish, MD
Ashraf Hasan, MD
Austin Chinn, DPM
Bradley Dworsky, MD
Brian Clay, MD
Brian J. Burgess, DPM
Brian R. McCall, MD
Brian Schwartz, MD
Brian Weatherford, MD
Brooke Vanderby, MD
Bruce Summerville, MD
Bryan Waxman, MD
Bryant S. Ho, MD
Carey E. Ellis, MD
Carla Gamez, DPM
Cary R. Templin, MD
Charles L. Lettvin, MD
Charles M. Lieder, DO
Chinyoung Park, MD
Christ Pavlatos, MD
Christian Skjong, MD
Christopher C. Mahr, MD
Christopher J. Bergin, MD
Craig Cummins, MD
Craig Phillips, MD
Craig S. Williams, MD
Craig Westin, MD
Daniel M. Dean, MD
David Beigler, MD
David Guelich, MD
David H. Garelick, MD
David Hamming, MD
David Hoffman, MD
David M. Anderson, MD
David Raab, MD
David Schneider, DO
Djuro Petkovic, MD
Douglas Diekevers, DPM
Douglas Solway, DPM
E. Quinn Regan, MD
Eddie Jones Jr., MD
Edward J. Logue, MD
Ellis K. Nam, MD
Eric Chehab, MD
Eric L. Lee, MD
Evan A. Dougherty, MD
Garo Emerzian, DPM
Gary Shapiro, MD
Giridhar Burra, MD
Gregory Brebach, MD
Gregory J. Fahrenbach, MD
Gregory Portland, MD
Harpreet S. Basran, MD
Holly L. Brockman, MD
Inbar Kirson, MD, FACOG, Diplomate ABOM
Jacob M. Babu, MD, MHA
Jalaal Shah, DO
James M. Hill, MD
James R. Bresch, MD
Jason G. Hurbanek, MD
Jason Ghodasra, MD
Jason J. Shrouder-Henry, MD
Jeffrey Ackerman, MD
Jeffrey Goldstein, MD
Jeffrey Staron, MD
Jeffrey Visotsky, MD
Jeremy Oryhon, MD
Jing Liang, MD
John H. Lyon, MD
Jonathan Erulkar, MD
Jordan L. Goldstein, MD
Josephine H. Mo, MD
Juan Santiago-Palma, MD
Justin Gent, MD
Justin M. LaReau, MD
Kellie Gates, MD
Kermit Muhammad, MD
Kevin Chen, MD
Kris Alden MD, PhD
Leah R. Urbanosky, MD
Leigh-Anne Tu, MD
Leon Benson, MD
Lori Siegel, MD
Lynn Gettleman Chehab, MD, MPH, Diplomate ABOM
Marc Angerame, MD
Marc Breslow, MD
Marc R. Fajardo, MD
Marie Kirincic, MD
Mark Gonzalez, MD
Mark Gross, MD
Mark Hamming, MD
Mark Mikhael, MD
Matthew L. Jimenez, MD
Mehul H. Garala, MD
Michael C. Durkin, MD
Michael Chiu, MD
Michael J. Corcoran, MD
Michael O'Rourke, MD
Nathan G. Wetters, MD
Nikhil K. Chokshi, MD
Paul L. Goodman, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA
Peter Hoepfner, MD
Peter Thadani, MD
Phillip Ludkowski, MD
Priyesh Patel, MD
Rajeev D. Puri, MD
Rhutav Parikh, MD
Richard J. Hayek, MD
Richard Noren, MD
Richard Sherman, MD
Ritesh Shah, MD
Robert J. Thorsness, MD
Roger Chams, MD
Ronak M. Patel, MD
Scott Jacobsen, DPM
Sean A. Sutphen, DO
Serafin DeLeon, MD
Shivani Batra, DO
Stanford Tack, MD
Steven C. Chudik, MD
Steven J. Fineberg, MD
Steven Jasonowicz, DPM
Steven M. Mardjetko, MD
Steven S. Louis, MD
Steven W. Miller, DPM
Surbhi Panchal, MD
T. Andrew Ehmke, DO
Taizoon Baxamusa, MD
Teresa Sosenko, MD
Theodore Fisher, MD
Thomas Gleason, MD
Timothy J. Friedrich, DPM
Todd R. Rimington, MD
Todd Simmons, MD
Tom Antkowiak, MD, MS
Tomas Nemickas, MD
Van Stamos, MD
Vidya Ramanavarapu, MD
Wayne M. Goldstein, MD
Wesley E. Choy, MD
William P. Mosenthal, MD
William Vitello, MD

Is Physical Therapy an Effective Sciatica Treatment?

This article is part of the Ultimate Guide to Neck and Back Pain Relief

If you live with sciatic nerve pain, you’re probably curious about the best sciatica treatment options. Physical therapy can make a measurable difference for many patients with sciatica.

Keep reading to learn about the types of physical therapy treatments that can improve your sciatica symptoms and how to find a physical therapist near you.

What Is Sciatica?

When the muscles in the hip place pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause excruciating pain called sciatica. The sciatic nerve is a major nerve that travels the entire length of the body, following the lumbar region of the back and down the leg to the foot.

Typically, this nerve does not trouble people, but it is vulnerable to pressure due to its path through the hip. In many cases, when prescribed by an orthopedic physician, physical therapy for sciatica treatment can provide effective and long-lasting pain relief.

Type of Physical Therapy for Sciatica

There are various physical therapy options available to pain management doctors to treat sciatica. The treatments usually fall into two categories, active therapy, and passive treatments.

Active treatments may include aerobics exercise, strength training, and stretching. The more passive treatment options can include massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and ultrasound. All of these have the potential for temporary—and in some cases, permanent—sciatica relief.

Get Active!

The three main types of physical therapy that involve movement and activity for sciatica treatment include:


As mentioned in our arthritis pain relief through exercise article, aerobic exercise, including long walks or swimming laps, releases natural pain-relieving endorphins into your body.

Strength Training

To decrease the chances of injury and create proper back alignment, sciatica strength training usually focuses on the lumbar region in the back, the gluteal muscles, and the thigh muscles.


Relaxing the muscles that have become resistant to movement and are causing the impingement of the sciatic nerve is a very common method of sciatica pain relief.

Take It Easy

In some cases, the physical therapist may suggest a less active sciatica treatment, including ultrasounds, massage, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.


Sound waves produced by an ultrasound machine can decrease the time it takes to heal and relieve stiff and inflexible muscles by improving circulation and gently heating the muscles.


A deep and firm massage will help soothe those cramped muscles and make the nerves and ligaments both relax.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

In some cases, using a very small and controlled amount of electricity can decrease the intensity and number of muscle spasms. It can help release pain-blocking endorphins, much like aerobics.

Sciatica Treatment at IBJI

IBJI’s orthopedic team includes some of Chicago’s most highly-trained and experienced physical therapists, surgeons, and pain management physicians.

The entire team is very familiar with pain management for many conditions, including sciatica treatment. Their primary concern is relieving your sciatic pain and getting you “back” on your feet.

If you think you may be suffering from sciatica, request an appointment today with one of our physical therapists or orthopedic spine doctors and get the pain relief you are looking for.

*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions.The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the reader’s own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.

the ultimate guide to neck and back pain relief graphic