Back Pain

Back Pain and Sciatica

Discover Long-Term Relief for Back Pain and Sciatica with PT

You Don’t Have to Live with Persistent Pain!

Back Pain and Sciatica are the most commonly reported pain in the United States, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. One in every four Americans has experienced back pain in the last three months.

Do you ever wake up with back pain? If so, you may have sciatica. While back pain and sciatica are similar, they also have differences that are frequently misunderstood. Back pain is most commonly felt in the upper, middle, or lower back. Sciatica can cause pain to radiate down the back, buttock, thigh, and even the legs.

If you wake up with back pain, or if you have been noticing pains in your back, buttocks, or thighs, our Riverhead physical therapy clinic can help.

Whether you have back pain or sciatica, don’t rely on medicines to help you mask your pain!

Our Riverhead physical therapists at Island Health Physical Therapy will get to the bottom of the pain you are experiencing, so they can help you provide long-term relief. In many cases, our treatments may even eliminate the need for potentially harmful painkillers like opioids, or invasive surgical procedures.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment, so you can begin to find effective and lasting relief!

Back pain vs. sciatica

Back pain

“Back pain” is a very broad term that can be caused by an array of different conditions. For example, you may experience back pain due to having poor posture, a motor vehicle accident, or an injury sustained while lifting something heavy. You could also have back pain from poor posture.

Back pain can be described as acute, meaning it is short-term, or chronic, meaning it is long-term (typically lasting for three months or longer).

The treatment plan that our Riverhead physical therapist sets up for you, will depend on how you developed the back pain, in addition to its exact location and your past medical history.


Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that is pretty easy to diagnose, although it is reported as being highly uncomfortable. People with sciatica experience pain along the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body.

The sciatic nerve begins at your lower back and then splits at the base of your spine to extend further down to your buttocks, legs, and finally ends at the bottom of each foot.

The sciatic nerve can become compressed or irritated, which causes a “shooting,” “stinging,” or “burning” sensation in your lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.

What’s causing my back pain/sciatica?

“Lumbar radiculopathy” is the medical term for sciatica. People who develop this condition are typically between the ages of 30 and 50. Most commonly with sciatica, people lose flexibility in the hips and pelvis, causing the hip and gluteal muscles to tighten. As a result, the spine mechanics become altered, and the sciatic nerve compresses as it travels through these tissues.

Sciatica can be caused by a variety of injuries, including arthritis, bone spurs, or any other injury to the sciatic nerve.

In most cases, general back pain develops as a result of an injury. This could be due to repetitive strains, such as leaning down multiple times throughout the day to pick up a toddler, or it could be due to more serious, sudden trauma, such as a car accident.

Herniated discs and other underlying conditions can also cause severe back pain and radiculopathy in your thigh, leg, or foot.

Degenerative disc disease is a common condition that causes back pain as we age. Those living with this condition typically experience dull, aching pain in their lower back, in addition to difficulty standing or walking for extended periods.

There are numerous reasons why you might be experiencing this type of pain, and the best way to find out for sure is to see a physical therapist.

How can I find relief with physical therapy treatments?

While both back pain and sciatica are painful and unfortunate conditions to deal with, both can be successfully treated with physical therapy. Based on your diagnosis, our Riverhead physical therapists will create a personalized treatment plan for you.

To loosen the sciatic nerve, our physical therapists will recommend specific leg stretches to your treatment plan for sciatica. This quickly restores the nerve’s natural health and reduces the symptoms you are experiencing.

Back pain can come and go, but it is critical to treat it as soon as you notice it! If not, it may result in poor joint movement, core weakness, and poor muscle coordination, all of which can lead to future injuries.

The initial stages of your physical therapy treatment plan will be focused on providing immediate pain relief. Following that, your physical therapist will broaden your treatment to include strengthening your core muscle group with therapeutic exercises and stretching. This helps to improve your strength and range of motion, preventing re-injury to your spine.

Your physical therapist will also teach you how to use ergonomic techniques to protect your spine while performing daily tasks, such as sitting at a desk or driving.

Ready to begin PT treatments?

Do you have any of the aforementioned back pain or sciatica symptoms? If so, you can get help from Island Health Physical Therapy right away. Our Riverhead physical therapists are eager to assist you in getting back on your feet!

Request your appointment today!