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Sciatica Treatment


Make no mistake, the pain caused by sciatica can be severe and life altering. ptHealth understands the negative impact this can have on your daily life and productivity. We know that when you suffer from sciatica you need an effective way to get relief.

Introducing the pt Health Active Sciatica Treatment

Getting relief from sciatic pain does not always require medication, surgery, or painkillers. Physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, and acupuncture have all been shown to be highly effective when it comes to reducing sciatic nerve pain.

pt Health clinicians use these therapies as a comprehensive approach to assess and treat sciatica. Our Active Sciatica Treatment also offers clinical therapeutic alternative that can support and speed up the healing process after surgical or medical intervention.

  • Does not involve medication or painkillers.
  • Also treats piriformus syndrome and pseudo-sciatica.
  • Is designed to get you back to enjoying a pain free life as quickly as possible.
  • Is covered by most extended health plans.
  • Starts quickly. Next day appointment booking.

Sciatica Symptoms

  • Lower back pain
  • Buttock pain
  • Numbness
  • “Pins and needles”
  • Weakness in various parts of the leg and foot

Sciatica Rehab

  • Does not require surgery
  • Addresses the root cause of sciatica as well as the symptoms
  • Uses different therapeutic approaches depending on root cause and pain level
  • Gives you exercises you can do at home so that you can continue to improve
  • Treats pregnancy-related sciatica

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What is Sciatica?


Sciatica is the name given to a set of symptoms caused by the compression or irritation of spinal nerve roots or sciatic nerves. A herniated or protruding disc in the lower back can be the cause of sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica symptoms include lower back pain, buttock pain, numbness, “pins and needles”, or weakness in various parts of the leg and foot.

People who suffer from sciatic nerve pain are often not able to move without pain. In fact, the pain can have a significant negative impact on a patient’s everyday life. Patients usually describe sciatic pain as an intense burning or knife-like sensation. Pain can be constant, or can come suddenly and feel like an electric shock.

Although the fundamental cause is different, both piriformus syndrome (pseudo-sciatica) and sciatica present with symptoms that are very similar (pain in the lower back and buttock). Because of this, piriformus syndrome is often misdiagnosed as sciatica.

Sciatica is caused by the compression or irritation of the spinal nerve roots or sciatic nerve. Typically this happens as a result of the herniation or bulging of discs in the lower back.

Piriforums Syndrome (Pseudo-Sciatica)

Piriformus syndrome happens when there is an issue with the piriformus muscle – a muscle located in the upper part of the buttock. This muscle can become too tight causing it to spasm, thereby irritating the sciatic nerve.

During an assessment, ptHealth physiotherapists will have patients go through a series of specific movements, positions, and stretches that are designed to diagnose true sciatic pain from pain associated with piriformus syndrome. Once the outcome of this initial diagnosis is confirmed, a specific treatment plan will be developed in order to give the patient relief from pain while still addressing and treating the root cause of the symptoms.

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Casey’s story

“Casey is a 33 year old high school math teacher from Brampton. He lives in an older house and spent a few years restoring it, developing a reputation as a pretty good handyman. On a Saturday in late May, he agreed to help a buddy of his re-build a backyard deck.  While lifting a 4 x 8 beam, Casey lost his footing and stumbled, twisting his upper body to regain his balance. He felt a twinge in his back, but it seemed okay, so he went on helping with the build. He even went out for beers with his friends that night before heading home for some much-needed sleep.

The next morning, Casey woke up with pain radiating down his leg. When he tried to walk, it felt like his leg was on fire. He couldn’t believe how much it hurt! He was hoping he’d feel better as the day went on, but the pain continued and nothing seemed to help. He had to call in sick to work on Monday. When he went in on Tuesday, he talked to a colleague who said it sounded like sciatica. His colleague suggested that Casey go to see a physiotherapist sooner rather than later and recommended a ptHealth clinic. Casey called and was able to get an appointment for the next day at a ptHealth physiotherapy clinic located close to his house.

When Casey got to the clinic, the physio said the most important thing to do was to assess the seriousness of the injury. She explained that she would take Casey through a series of movements to see if they helped to decrease the pain by taking pressure off the nerve. Casey was amazed at the different it made – what a relief! The physio told Casey that it looked like he had a mild nuclear bulge in one of the discs in his back. The bulge was irritating the sciatic nerve. Although the disc bulge and resulting sciatica wasn’t serious enough for surgery, it was serious enough that Casey would be in a lot of discomfort and pain without physiotherapy. Casey was on board and booked a series of appointments with the ptHealth physiotherapist.

Over the next few weeks, Casey’s ptHealth physiotherapist introduced him to the Active Sciatica Program. She taught him what exercises and movements would take pressure off the nerve and reduce the pain. She also showed him what positions to avoid and how to modify everyday activities so that he wouldn’t re-injure himself. In addition, she did acupuncture and some manual therapy to help with movement and pain in general. She also encouraged him to strengthen his core and gave him specific exercises for that as well.

Casey followed the therapeutic regimen closely and – within three months – felt as good as new. He was glad that he now knew what kind of movements and exercises would help to take pressure off the nerve if his sciatica ever recurred – and what positions to avoid so that he didn’t hurt himself again. In the future, Casey decided that he’d try spend a little more time supervising his friends’ renovation jobs… and a little less time carrying the heavy stuff around.

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Why Wait to Feel Better?

Research clearly shows that the sooner you start treatment for pain or injury, the higher your chances of feeling relief quickly. At pt Health, our clinicians are recognized leaders in the health care field. Many have respected roles in regulatory bodies, provincial associations, government committees, and mentorship programs. pt Health clinicians also train other health care professionals through continuing education courses and in post-secondary institutions. We believe our patients deserve the best treatment possible. That is why our clinicians continue to learn, teach, collaborate, and innovate throughout their careers at pt Health.

ptHealth clinicians understand the complexities of pain, injury, and managing ongoing sciatica concerns. We believe that every patient’s experience is unique and important. We have a team of dedicated, compassionate, and committed professionals who work together to make sure that you get well and stay well.

Coverage Options

At pt Health, we know that sorting out insurance paperwork can be time-consuming and confusing. We want your focus to be on getting well and staying well. With that in mind, we do our best to help you navigate through the necessary forms. We speak with your insurance providers and we’ll answer any questions you may have about your coverage.

pt Health services are covered by most health care insurance plans.  In most cases, if you are using your extended health care carrier or work plan, we do not require you to pay for your therapy sessions up front.* Instead, we bill your insurance company on your behalf.
If you have extended health care benefits that cover therapy, most auto insurance companies require that your claim be placed through your extended health plan first. Any remaining balances for services are then covered by your auto insurance plan. On your first visit, you may be asked to provide information about your extended health plan. If you do not have extended health care benefits that cover therapy, your treatments may be billed directly through your auto insurance company. For residents of British Columbia, ICBC covers a partial amount of treatment visits. Patients will be asked to co-pay the difference at each visit. If a patient has extended health care benefits, it is possible to claim the difference back.
Although each clinic’s approach to intake, assessment and therapy do vary, generally speaking your physiotherapist will ask a series of questions that will help better describe all of your symptoms in detail. Your physiotherapist can then carry out your assessment. The physiotherapist will examine you physically and discuss the findings, the cause of the problem, and suggest a solution that can effectively treat your health problem.
OHIP covered physiotherapy services must be provided by a designated OHIP physiotherapy clinic. OHIP covers physiotherapy treatments, but does not cover the cost of an initial assessment. To qualify for OHIP coverage, you must have a medial doctor’s referral, be 19 years or younger, be 65 years or older, or be receiving benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program or Family Works. If you have been admitted overnight in hospital for a condition that now requires physiotherapy, you are also eligible.
Some pt Health clinics will be able to bill Blue Cross direction for physiotherapy and massage therapy treatments if you are a member of:

  • RCMP
  • DND
  • Canadian Forces
  • Veterans Affairs

For any treatments that are only partially covered, you may be asked to co-pay the difference at each visit.

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