Next Step PT: Back Pain and Sciatica

NEWSLETTER The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body


This month I wanted to share with you some of our favorite things to do during the fall. For several years now we (my family) always try to go up to the North Fork of Long Island a couple of times each fall. There is so much to do and the kids love it. If you’re not familiar with the North Fork what I’m referring to is the northeastern part of Long Island. Take the LIE (495) all the way to the end and go north. Towns like Riverhead, Mattituck and Cutchogue and all the way to the end (Greenport and Orient Point) are great areas to visit any weekend during the fall season. The first thing we always do is go apple picking. I’m a little embarrassed to admit but sometimes we go three times a year to get all the different apples that ripen at different times. There are so many great places to go out there. Harbes, Wickham’s, or Woodside Orchards are some of our favorites. There are also some fall festivals which can be really fun. Harbes has a good one where you can pick apples, go through a corn maze (that takes

• Patient Success Spotlight • What’s New? Finally, our trip out east is never complete unless we stop on the way home at Briermere’s farm for some homemade pie. Get there early because the line can get big. Get the peach-cherry mix - it’s out of this world!! you at least 20 minutes to get out) and buy some pies or local crafts and candles. It makes for a fun day all around. Another great activity out there are the wineries. Many of the wineries have truly beautiful grounds and views of the vineyards and surrounding countryside. We like to pack a lunch and have a little picnic on the grounds of one of the wineries and let the kids play - as we sample some of their wines. If you’re really adventurous you can drive all the way out to the end by Greenport, which is a great little town with some good restaurants and local shops. We got a great little painting out there one year and some of the restaurants have great views of the water. They also have a big carousel that the kids love to go on.

INSIDE : • Stand Up To Sciatica

• A 30 Second Self-Test For Sciatica

NEWSLETTER The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body


Do you experience pain in the buttock, leg, or even your foot? If so, you may be experiencing sciatica. Sciatica is a common form of back and leg pain that is often misunderstood by sufferers. People frequently have questions about what sciatica is, why it occurs and how to find relief from the intense pain it can cause from the low back down to the feet. If you are suffering from sciatica, it is important to find its root cause. Many people often think an x-ray or expensive MRI is first needed to figure out what is causing pain. Having a lot of tests doesn’t mean you will find its root cause. Recent studies show that nearly 1 million of MRIs done for sciatica fail to find a treatable cause. With a new imaging technique called magnetic resonance neurography, 69% of the patients were found to have a trapped sciatic nerve deep in the buttock by a muscle called

the piriformis. It is known that in about 25% of the general population, the sciatic nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle and can be susceptible to abnormal pressure and irritation. Why Does Sciatica Occur? If there are changes in posture, muscle strength or pelvic alignment, the nerve can be compressed which leads to the quite common low back and sciatic nerve pains. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in your body. It even reaches down to the foot and therefore, can be irritated anywhere along its path. With sciatica, the consequent ache can be felt anywhere from the base of the spine, the buttocks or the back of the thigh and legs. Even tingling sensations in the toes can be attributed at times to the impingement of the sciatic nerve.


• Wrist / Hand Pain • Wellness / Balance Problems • Ankle / Foot Pain

• Knee Pain • Sports Injuries • Shoulder Pain

• Physical Therapy • Low Back Pain • Neck Pain


If you’ve experienced back pain, and even leg pain, you might have a deeper issue. Your minor aches and pinched nerves could be symptomatic of deeper issues. You might be facing sciatica. While “sciatica” may sound serious, it’s entirely curable. Inside, we’ll cover sciatica back pain. What Is Sciatica? Sciatica is pain that radiates alongside the sciatic nerve. This nerve, which branches from your lower back — spanning across your hips, buttocks and legs — can be injured or stressed in several ways. Mayo Clinic has pinpointed the most common cause of sciatica-related pain: inflammation along the spine, where compressed nerves are aggravated. While sciatica pain can be great, it can be treated. A lot of sciatica cases, in fact, can be resolved without operation — and in a few weeks. Even if you’ve suffered severe sciatica spawned from leg weakness, bladder changes or nerve issues, there’s still hope. What Causes Sciatica? In most cases, sciatica occurs when one of the back’s disks is herniated. It can also happen if the spine narrows — an effect called spinal stenosis. As we age, our backs undergo a lot of stress. This stress takes a toll, causing inflammation in several areas. If this inflammation reaches a certain point, Do you have back pain or leg pain while standing or walking? Do you have a shooting pain in your leg when you stand up? Do you need to sit down for a minute for the pain to go away? Sciatica back pain is normally noticed as a pain radiating from the lower back. Often, this pain extends to the buttock, spiraling down the leg. If you’re suffering from sciatica, you might feel the discomfort anywhere along this nerve pathway. The pain can even extend to the calf. The pain itself can be dull, aching or even sharp. In some cases, the compressed nerve may feel like it burns, causing considerable pain. In other cases, the compressed nerve may simply issue a sharp jolt of pain. Some people experiencing sciatica may even have leg numbness, tingling or weakness. If sciatica isn’t treated, it can hinder mobility altogether. it may compress these nerves — resulting in pain. What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?

1. Sitting on a chair, look down. 2. Straighten one leg, with toes in the air. 3. Repeat for the other side.

How Physical Therapy Can Help with Sciatica If you’re experiencing sciatica, contact a physician immediately. Medical News Today asserts that over-the-counter painkillers may alleviate pain, but in-depth physical therapy is often needed. Physical therapy can reduce sciatica compression by carefully introducing exercises and relaxing treatments. These treatments, hand picked by medical professionals, can completely eliminate sciatica over time. If you’re experiencing back pain, don’t wait. Call one of our professionals today, and ask about physical therapy options. Your mobility is important, and your back can absolutely be healed.

- Chris Ostling PT, DPT

I’ve attached a FREE Screening coupon to this newsletter…

What it means: If the leg with pain, numbness or tingling does not go up as high as the other leg, you likely have Sciatica.

Your next step is to see what is causing the pressure on your sciatic nerve. Call us to schedule an appointment. Next Step Physical Therapy can help you relieve your Sciatica pain.

CALL TODAY! (516) 681-8070

Patient Success Spotlight

What’s New?

November is here and Thanksgiving is coming up...and you know what’s coming after that. We’re keeping busy and helping people as usual. Last month’s article about stress and neck pain was a big hit. Thanks for the feedback. This month’s article on low back pain and sciatica is of course dear to our heart because each month we have been hosting a low back pain and sciatica workshop. Lots of good information! If you’re having pain or have any questions then just use the coupon and schedule a screen with us so we can see what’s going on. If you haven’t been in lately we have (another) new doctoral student practicing with us. Hannah is from Salt Lake City Utah and is finishing up her schooling at my alma mater Wash U in St Louis. This is her last clinical and then she can become the real deal. So if you need some therapy or something is hurting feel free to come in and see if Hanna and I can help you out! Talk to you soon.

I’m very happy with the results thanks to the hands-on approach by Chris. “When I first started at P.T. I thought it wouldn’t do anything to help my lower back! Before I started I couldn’t walk a mile without pain running down my leg. After Chris worked on me and gave me exercises that I did every morning, I went back to 4 miles a day without pain in just a few weeks. I’m very happy with the results thanks to the hands-on approach by Chris.” -Dennis T.

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