How Long Does Sciatica Pain Last?

The quick answer to how long does sciatica lasts is dependent on your activity.  You need to stop the activity that is irritating it.  A common recommendation is to stretch the nerve, but this may not be the best way to treat it.  Nerve tissue does not respond well to stretching, especially when it is inflamed.  Avoiding positions that stretch the sciatic nerve may be the best way to help the pain initially.  Hamstring stretches can pull on the sciatic nerve, so avoiding hamstring stretching may limit the nerve's irritation initially.  Basic movement exercises may be the best treatment initially.  See our article on the Top 3 Sciatic Nerve Stretches for more specifics on lower back stretches that may help. 

Image of sciatica pain with labels on the nerve Sciatica Diagram

Pain along the Sciatic Nerve can limit daily activity. The location of sciatic nerve pain typically runs from the lower back down the buttocks.  It can also cause pain in the back of the knee, thigh, and lower leg.  Sciatica can feel like hip nerve pain in some people.  Sciatic nerve pain typically originates in the low back.  Inflammation in a disk or facet joint can irritate the sciatic nerve.  

How Long Does Sciatica Pain Last? Is This a Permanent Disability?

Mostly, Sciatica Pain is a temporary issue.  Most people are better in 4 to 8 weeks.Sciatic Nerve being pinched is treatable with physical therapy

The quick answer is that typically, Sciatica is a temporary issue.  Most people are better in 4 to 8 weeks.  In rare cases, it can lead to permanent disability, but there are usually other factors such as severe nerve injury, other health complications, obesity, and a lack of conditioning.  Most of the time, this condition is treatable with physical therapy.  Some severe cases require steroid injections in the spine.  In rare cases, surgery may be required in the lumbar spine to relieve sciatic symptoms.  Your actions can determine how long does the pain will last. 

What is the Best Sciatica Pain Relief?

Anti-inflammatory medications may help with the pain in the sciatic nerve.  Consult a physician if you are not sure about whether anti-inflammatory medications are safe for you.  Ice, heat, and massage may help treat symptoms.  

Can The Pinched Sciatic Nerve Go Away on its Own?

The pain from the sciatic nerve can go away on its own, but physical therapy may help it go away faster. Often, the pain can typically originate from other lumbar spine issues.  Without physical therapy treatment for the low back, there is a high chance of recurring issues with a pinched nerve in the lower back and 
sciatic nerve.  Physical therapy helps to train the deep stabilizing muscle to control movements in the low back.  This allows for more normal movement patterns.  Normal muscle activity and movement patterns make re-irritation less likely.

A Sciatic nerve pinched can cause radiating pain most commonly referred to as sciatic painImage of the Sciatic Nerve and Piriformis Muscle

Physical Therapy Can Decrease the Pain and How Long the Pain Lasts

Physical Therapy has been shown to decrease the pain associated with the sciatic nerve.  It also can decrease the length of time the sciatic nerve is irritated.  Therapists can use modalities like electrical stimulation or laser therapy to decrease pain and inflammation.  Stretching and core strengthening can also help to get you back on the road to recovery. 

plank exercises help with core strength to  help ease sciatica painplank exercises help with core strength to  help ease sciatica nerve pain

If you want to learn more, please read this article about low back pain.  To schedule a physical therapy appointment at JOI Rehab, please call us at 904-858-7045.  You can also read this article on the  JOI Rehab Fast Track Spine Program.  How long does sciatica last?  It depends completely on you!

Learn more about how JOI Rehab can see you through Direct Access to Physical Therapy

By: Ehren Allen, DPT, Certified Manual Therapist

To schedule an appointment with an Orthopaedic Back Specialist, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or follow the link below.

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