back pain athletic advantage physical therapy

How Back Pain and Sciatica are Similar and Different

The Commonalities and Differences of Back Pain and Sciatica

The American Physical Therapy Association reports that back pain is the most common type of pain across the United States. In fact, one out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the past three months. Back pain typically develops as the result of an injury or muscle strain, but it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether it is general back pain or sciatica. Contact Athletic Advantage Physical Therapy today.

Sciatica is a commonly misused term. The sciatic nerve originates from openings on the side of the spine and travels through the buttock, down the back of the leg and splits off to supply numerous muscles of the leg. Sciatica is a general term that indicated pain or dysfunction of the Sciatic nerve but the location of the impairment could be anywhere along its path. This means that there may be dysfunction at the lumbar spine where the nerve roots come off of the spinal cord or at any muscle along the nerve’s path. With any type of nerve pain, patients generally report a feeling of burning, tingling, numbness or aching. People with back pain may also experience sciatica, but those with sciatica may not have any pain of dysfunction in their back. Whether you’re experiencing general back pain or sciatica pain, our physical therapists are licensed and trained in helping alleviate your discomfort by finding the origin of the dysfunction. If you are suffering from back pain, contact Athletic Advantage Physical Therapy today. One of our dedicated physical therapists will design a treatment plan specific for your needs, in order to provide relief and recovery.


What are the causes of back pain?

There are a large number of conditions that can result in back pain. For example, poor posture, car accidents, and sports-related injuries are just a few of the ways that someone may develop back pain. Injury is the most common cause of back pain. This can happen in one of two ways: 1) an instant, sudden trauma, such as a car accident, or 2) repetitive use that puts excessive stress on the back over time, such as bending down several times throughout the week to pick up boxes. Some other factors that may contribute to your back pain include degenerative disc disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, fractures, herniated disc, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and tumors of the spine.

Why does my back hurt?

Back pain commonly results from a muscle strain or injury; however, it can also develop as a result of an underlying condition, such as a herniated disc, sciatica, or degenerative disc disease. Poor posture, car accidents, and sports-related injuries are also common ways that someone may develop back pain. Your physical therapist will focus on treating the root of your back pain, in order to help you regain mobility, function, and comfort.

How can I get relief from back pain?

You can treat your back pain with physical therapy. Physical therapy can address back pain by helping to improve your range of motion, strengthening the muscles in the affected areas, and using targeted massage to reduce tension. In many situations, working with a physical therapist to improve can significantly reduce the severity of your back pain, and may even help you avoid more invasive procedures, such as surgery.

What are the best exercises for back pain?

It is common that the muscles used to support the lower back may become weakened from inactivity. We’ll prescribe targeted, easy-to-do exercises that we will walk you through, in order to help your back muscles regain their strength. This will help provide greater support to your spine and reduce any inflammation you may be experiencing. While the best exercises for your back pain are relative to your specific conditions, some common ones your physical therapist may have you do include spine stretches, bridges, and pelvic tilts.