Sciatica Treatment in Grand Rapids

Sciatica treatment in Grand Rapids
Dr. Maureen O’Keefe, DPT | February 7, 2022

How to Fix Sciatica and Finally Overcome the Agonizing Pain. There is high quality treatment for sciatica in Grand Rapids!

If you are looking for Sciatica treatment in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we can help you!

At Purple Mountain Physical Therapy our licensed physical therapists are specialists in delivering sciatica treatment right here in Grand Rapids. In fact, we specialize in helping people overcome sciatica, chronic low back pain, neck pain, SI joint pain and pelvic conditions. We know that if you have sciatica you are suffering. Fortunately, we can help you resolve your sciatica by using effective treatments that restore your spine mobility, reduce irritation on your nerves and improve your core strength. Our treatment for Sciatica effectively resolves your pinched nerve, restores your ability to move your leg and your back and improves your strength and function. In this article we will cover what Sciatica is, what causes Sciatica and how to fix Sciatica. If you are interested to learn more about our treatment for sciatica, call (616) 516-4334 or contact us here.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a very painful condition when the sciatic nerve, which travels from your low back all the way down your leg to your foot, becomes irritated. Often sciatica is characterized by severe pain running right down the back of your leg and into your toes. Sometimes the pain is localized in one area of the leg, such as your calf. Other times the pain is anywhere along the entire length of your leg.

The pain can feel very sharp or electric, because the nerve is so painful. Other times the pain feels like a throb and spasm in various areas of your leg. We’ve had patients whose sciatica is causing the bottom of their foot to feel swollen, even though it is not swollen. We’ve had other patients who are limping due to Sciatica. Sciatica can contribute to charley horse spasms in the middle of the night, generalized stiffness in the ankle, lower leg, hamstring and knee or weakness in the leg. Often someone has difficulty standing up on the leg that has Sciatica and lifting that leg’s heel. It is common to experience changes in sensation in the leg with sciatica, so you might feel pins and needles or a cold sensation. Our sciatica treatment effectively resolves the irritation on the nerve and you will find that your nerve pains reduce.

If you have Sciatica, you know the horrendous pain I am referring to. It isn’t fun. And on top of this pain and paresthesia, you may also have lower back pain. Connect with us here to speak with our staff and get your questions answered.

When your sciatic nerve is irritated… You Know It! Getting treatment for sciatica is important to reduce nerve irritation.

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated and not freely able to move along its path. Remember the nerve begins in the spine and travels the length of your leg. Anywhere along this length the nerve should be able to move freely, without friction. For example, if you move to stand up from sitting, the nerve and all of the joints of your lower back should have full capability of moving without any inflammation or compromise in its motion. If you have any difficulty in your spine joints causing you to be unable to move those joints through a normal range of motion, you could be setting yourself up for Sciatica. Further away from the spine we have all the hip and gluteal muscles. In and around these muscles the Sciatic nerve travels. Again, if you have any tightness or stiffness in the hip joint or gluteal muscles, you will run the risk of irritating the Sciatic Nerve. By providing you with gentle and effective sciatica treatment, you will experience improved ability of the sciatic nerve to move along its path, without being irritated.

An MRI might tell you misleading information, such as you have degeneration; often the degeneration is not the cause of the pain. We recommend beginning your care with conservative physical therapy treatment for sciatica at our clinic in Grand Rapids.

When we think of Sciatic Nerve problems, we often have patients ask us if they should get an MRI. Research shows us that many people have less than ideal findings on an MRI and, yet, they have zero pain! Let me say this another way: MRIs often find things that are NOT the cause of your problems. And once those things are found, we know that we all cling to that bad news and often believe that our problem cannot get better on its own. For example, “my MRI showed that I have a bad disc and, therefore, my Sciatica is never going to go away” is an unhelpful finding from an MRI. Many people have bad discs and do not have pain. In fact, you probably had a “bad disc” for a long time and you never had pain until recently. In our physical therapy approach, we look to evaluate and treat you to determine what are the things that are actually contributing to you having this pain today and what can we do to resolve those things?

If what we are saying sounds unbelievable to you, then read these research results yourself and you will see what we are referring to:

Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations –American Journal of Neuroradiology April 2015

In a review of 33 research articles that included over 3,000 people who do NOT have low back pain, it was found that disc degeneration, disc bulge, disc protrusion or annular fissure were found in at minimum 19% of people who were 20 years old and at maximum 96% of people who were 80 years old.

CONCLUSIONS of this research study on people who DO NOT HAVE LOW BACK PAIN, but MRIs consistently found spine degeneration:

Imaging findings of spine degeneration are present in high proportions of asymptomatic individuals, increasing with age. Many imaging-based degenerative features are likely part of normal aging and unassociated with pain. These imaging findings must be interpreted in the context of the patient’s clinical condition.

If degenerative findings on my MRI aren’t causing my sciatica, then what could be causing it?

We find that our patients often have a combination of issues contributing to their sciatica. These include

*Mechanical problems in their back (your joints don’t move well)

*Core muscles that lack endurance, strength and coordination

*Imbalances in your pelvis, hips, thoracic spine

*Non-optimal posture and habits with moving

*Weakness of glutes and hip muscles, which results in strain through the low back.

We find that people often have these combinations of problems contributing to their sciatica. A mechanical problems means the joints of your lower back do not move freely and easily through their full range of motion and this is causing muscle spasm or improper muscle firing and nerve(s) to be irritated, contributing to Sciatica and low back pain. We also find that the core muscles are not coordinated and working optimally. Research shows that the low back muscles tend to not inhibited when you have sciatica. Our treatment works to turn these muscles back on. Our comprehensive methods that are included in your treatment with us are each designed to get you feeling better. We know that you have choices when finding a provider who can help your back pain; our sciatica treatment in Grand Rapids is a full program, designed to get you relief and provide you the one-on-one care you deserve. To learn more, contact us here. 

How to Fix Sciatica! The Key is to receive comprehensive treatment for sciatica that restores your low back motion, resolves the irritation on your nerve, improves your core strength and balances your posture and joints. Our treatment for sciatica at our PT clinic in Grand Rapids includes all of these things so you get better!

If you have read this far, chances are that you would LOVE to know how to fix your sciatica. Fortunately, we help people everyday to get rid of sciatica.

While some people, and even medical providers, seem to tell you that the only way to fix sciatica is to take pain killers, to rest and hope it goes away, we know this is outdated advice that is likely to make your worse.

In fact, we have strong evidence that effective physical therapy interventions, that involve movement and resolving the mechanical issues in your low back is your path out of sciatica. So, please do not avoid movement. Do not stay in bed. Do not avoid all activities. In fact, if you have already been doing these things you probably figured out by now that your pain is not going away and that, in fact, you seem to be having a harder time doing anything.

Our Sciatica Physical Therapy Treatment in Grand Rapids Works to Alleviate Nerve Irritation and Allow the Nerve to Heal.

There is no quick-fix solution for sciatica because nerves do require a nice recipe that alleviates irritation and gives them time to heal. But there are solutions that work. Physical Therapy works to resolve sciatica. Here at Purple Mountain PT, the sciatica treatment we offer in Grand Rapids, is based on many years of experience + advanced training in spine rehabilitation. You can expect one-on-one care and a very detailed evaluation and treatment plan that identifies the underlying contributions to your pain. Each appointment may include any combination of the following:

*Graded exercises designed to get each lumbar joint moving optimally

*Stretches to help your hips, legs, thoracic spine and calves.

*Gentle movements or hands-on care designed to alleviate sciatic pinching.

*Manual therapies such as myofascial mobilization, joint mobilization, fascial release and trigger point release

*Movement pattern retraining to reduce stress and strain through the low back, to enhance the hip mobility and to improve posture

*Strengthening to improve endurance and coordination of specific core muscles. These include your diaphragm, deep abdominals, pelvic floor, low back, glutes and other hip muscles.

Each appointment for sciatica is private, with the same PT and upto 55 minutes in length. This allows for comprehensive treatment at each visit.

We’ve found, through many years of helping people overcome sciatica, that our approach will alleviate your pain. We commonly work with people who saw other providers and tell us that they were left alone to do exercises. That’s not how we take care of you here at Purple Mountain PT. We opened Purple Mountain PT so that Grand Rapids has a great place to receive treatment for low back pain and sciatica. To learn more about our PT call 616.516.4334 or contact us here. 

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Low Back Pain Go Together! You need treatment to both if you are going to get your sciatica to go away!

It is very common for patients to come to our clinic for treatment for their sciatica and lower back pain. Our doctors of physical therapy are fully trained and experienced orthopedic physical therapists who specialize in treating spine conditions, including sciatica. A huge bonus of getting your treatment for sciatica from our licensed physical therapists is that we never overlook your pelvic floor muscles while we treat your back. Believe us, this is something that is routinely not-included in your care anywhere else you receive treatment. Research is strong that if you have sciatica you likely also have pelvic floor dysfunction, so if you truly want to feel better we must treat all of these core muscles because they work together. The core muscles, which we all know are important when you have back pain, include the pelvic floor. So, if you are serious about wanting to get rid of sciatica and getting your core muscles functioning well again, you must include treatment to your pelvic floor. We work with you to identify your goals and develop a treatment plan that meets your needs and wishes. And, don’t worry, our methods are gentle and effective. In fact, it is expected that you have less pain after your appointments.

Hang in there if you have sciatica! You can experience relief from the sciatica treatments we provide at our clinic in Grand Rapids.

We are doctors of physical therapy who specialize in helping people resolve chronic lower back pain and sciatica. Our patients tell us that our therapy has been the best thing that has happened for them. Recently, a patient who used to have sciatica left us a voicemail from an airport because she was so thrilled to have been able to walk long distances at a trade show and also through an airport without her sciatica! We love to receive those voicemails and we know that you can experience similar results.

Purple Mountain Physical Therapy is a specialty spine, pelvic health & TM joint disorder clinic located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our doctors of physical therapy fully specialize in treating chronic neck and low back pain, including sciatica. Our treatment for sciatica occurs at our clinic in Grand Rapids, or via telehealth. Your visits are comprehensive, individualized to your needs and healing. Often, we are the first clinic that has been able to provide meaningful pain relief for our patients. If you are interested in learning more call us at 616.516.4334or fill out this online inquiry and we will be in touch. We offer in person treatment at our clinic or telehealth visits. We consider this work an honor and we are here to get you results. We promise to give you our best! If you would like to read more about our methods to help pelvic pain, this article gives nice information.


Dr. Maureen O’Keefe, DPT