Sciatica is characterized by pain or discomfort in the lower back, often extending down the leg to the toes. It occurs when pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve, either due to a fracture, ruptured disk or muscle strain.
Sometimes this pain goes away on its own, but other times it must be treated with medicine, surgery or various types of physical therapy.
Some physical therapists use a technique called dry needling, which we'll discuss below. Read on to learn about some of the benefits of dry needling for sciatica.
What is dry needling?
Dry needling is a type of therapy in which a specialist penetrates a patient's skin with thin needles to stimulate contractions in the muscles. This technique helps loosen muscle fibers around trigger points, or areas where the muscle tissue has become tight and knotted. Some patients experience increased mobility and tension relief as a result.
Dry needling for sciatica: 3 ways it can help
Here are three reasons why dry needling can be an effective treatment for sciatica:
- Alleviates piriformis syndrome ” Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle, which is located directly above the sciatic nerve, swells up large enough to place pressure on the sciatic nerve. Dry needling may be able to relieve tension in the piriformis.
- Relieves tension in the gluteus minimus and medius ” The gluteus minimus and gluteus medius are pairs of muscles located directly to each side of the sciatic nerve. Specialists may prescribe dry needling to relieve tension in a swollen or strained gluteus minimus, which can loosen the muscles and take pressure off the sciatic nerve.
- Sends nutrients to the sciatic nerve ” Dry needling stimulates blood flow to the affected area, sending oxygen and valuable nutrients to the area. This promotes healing and may help patients to recover from injuries faster.
Could dry needling treat your sciatica?
If you're interested in dry needling for sciatica, talk to your physician or call a physical therapist in your area. Many PT clinics offer dry needling as a stand-alone service or as part of a larger treatment plan, depending on the severity of your case.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for sciatica
At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we're proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that's close to you and that can help you address your sciatic nerve pain.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.