Could Osteopathic Treatment Bring You Sciatica Relief?

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Exploring Lasting Relief: How Osteopathic Treatment Tackles Sciatica Pain

Here at Kaly, we understand how agonizing sciatic nerve pain can be. If you’ve tried rest, medication, physical therapy or other treatments without lasting relief, osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) may be an option worth exploring. 

Below we’ll look at how this hands-on approach can help reduce sciatica symptoms and improve function when other therapies fail.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to radiating leg pain caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. This large nerve extends from the lower back down through the buttocks and hips into the legs. 

In addition to pain, sciatica sufferers may experience numbness, tingling, weakness or muscle spasms along the sciatic nerve pathway.

Common culprits behind sciatica include a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, pregnancy, injury, or simply muscle tension. When more conservative treatments don’t provide lasting relief, OMT techniques may help reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.

How Does OMT Address Sciatica?

OMT encompasses a variety of hands-on techniques aimed at restoring optimal alignment and movement of the muscles, joints, and soft tissues. Sciatica patients often develop abnormal postural adaptations, muscle tightness, and joint restrictions that can irritate the sciatic nerve over time.

A trained OMT provider uses gentle techniques like stretching, mobilization, and myofascial release to relieve muscle tension and spasms, restore range of motion, improve circulation, and reduce compressive forces on the sciatic nerve. OMT can both treat acute flare-ups and address underlying dysfunctions contributing to sciatica.

Who Performs Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy?

OMT is performed by licensed, board-certified osteopathic physicians (DO). DOs receive extensive medical training plus specialized instruction in osteopathic techniques. Many osteopaths pursue additional certification in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and OMT.

At Kaly, we connect patients only with highly experienced osteopaths. Our providers integrate OMT with medical treatment to offer a comprehensive, individualized approach to sciatica management.

Is osteopathic treatment for sciatica painful?

OMT should not be intensely painful, though some pressure/discomfort may occur. Speak up if any technique causes distress so the provider can adjust.

How many OMT sessions are needed to treat sciatica?

The number of sessions depends on severity and duration of symptoms. Chronic sciatica often requires 6-12 sessions over several weeks for optimal results.

What are the Potential Benefits?

a matured woman doing yoga

OMT offers a drug-free way to manage sciatica pain and improve function. Benefits may include:

  • Reduced nerve irritation and inflammation
  • Decreased muscle spasms/tension
  • Restored range of motion and flexibility
  • Improved posture and biomechanics
  • Increased blood flow to aid healing
  • Faster recovery from flare-ups
  • Less need for pain medication

OMT is very safe with minimal side effects when performed by a skilled practitioner. It can be effective for acute or chronic sciatica caused by a variety of underlying conditions.

Is OMT Covered By Insurance?

Many insurance plans do cover OMT when provided by licensed DOs. Coverage varies by plan, so we encourage you to check with your provider. We’re happy to help verify your benefits and discuss cost estimates.

If conservative treatments haven’t provided lasting relief for your sciatica, it may be time to explore osteopathic manipulative therapy

Kaly makes it easy to connect with experienced osteopaths offering personalized OMT programs. Schedule an appointment today to see if this hands-on approach is right for you!

When should you see an osteopath for sciatica?

a woman consults osteopath for sciatica pain

Consider OMT if you still have chronic or recurring symptoms after trying rest, medication, physical therapy, injections, or other conservative treatments.

What techniques do osteopaths use to treat sciatica?

Common techniques include myofascial release, muscle energy, counterstrain, high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA), and craniosacral therapy. The provider tailors techniques to each patient.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can OMT help relieve sciatica?

OMT techniques help reduce nerve compression and inflammation, relax muscle tension, improve range of motion, and restore proper alignment and biomechanics.

Is OMT safe for pregnant women with sciatica?

Yes, OMT is very safe during pregnancy and often helps relieve sciatica caused by pelvic changes. Providers gently adapt techniques for expectant mothers.

When should I avoid OMT for sciatica?

Talk to your osteopath if you have severe spinal instability, osteoporosis, bleeding disorders, or other medical conditions that may limit treatment.

Does insurance cover osteopathic treatment?

Many plans cover OMT provided by licensed DOs. Coverage varies, so verify your benefits. Kaly can help check your coverage and benefits.

How much does OMT for sciatica cost?

Costs vary, but initial visits often range $100-$200, with follow-ups $65-$150. Check with providers on pricing details.

Can I do OMT exercises at home?

Your osteopath may recommend gentle self-stretches but advise seeing a skilled practitioner for proper manual techniques. Certain motions could worsen pain if not done correctly.