Back Pain Relief and Sciatica Pain Relief Chicago, North Center, Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, Roscoe Village, IL

Back Pain & Sciatica Relief Pain Chicago, IL

Is back pain and sciatica common?

The American Physical Therapy Association reports that back pain is the most common type of pain across the United States. In fact, one out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the past three months. Oftentimes with back pain we can experience pain that travels down our legs. One reason is due to injury or compression our sciatic nerve.

Sciatica, also called lumbar radiculopathy, is a common type of back pain that develops from issues surrounding the nerves and can be felt in the lower back, legs, or buttocks. Whether you’re experiencing general back pain or sciatica pain, our Physical Therapists are licensed and trained in alleviating your discomfort, restoring your health and helping you return to your optimal level of function. Physical therapy has been shown to reduce the need for harmful pain-management drugs, such as opioids, or invasive surgical procedures. If you are suffering from back pain, contact The FIT Institute (TFI) today. One of our dedicated Physical Therapists will design a treatment plan specific for your needs, in order to provide relief and recovery.

What’s the difference between back pain and sciatica?

Back pain

“Back pain” is a general term used to describe any of the numerous conditions that may lead to pain in the upper or lower back. Poor posture, car accidents, arthritis, and sports-related injuries can contribute to back pain. No matter what the case may be, one of our Physical Therapists can set up a treatment plan based on your specific back pain, its location, and your medical history.

Back pain can be described as either acute or chronic. Acute pain is pain that has been present for one month or less. It is important to avoid bed rest and initiate therapy at this time to reduce the length of your symptoms. Chronic pain has been present for three months or longer. Chronic pain can exhibit itself as persistent dull pain, episodes of severe pain, or anything in between. No matter the length of time, physical therapy can help!


Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is related to the nerves in your low back. People with sciatica suffer from pain along their sciatic nerve, which is the biggest nerve in the human body. The sciatic nerve begins at the lower back, splitting at the base of the spine to extend down the buttocks, both legs, and the bottom of each foot. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes “pinched” in some way, resulting in a “shooting”, “stinging”, or “burning” sensation in the lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet. Numbness and tingling may also be present with sciatica.

Why do people develop back pain and sciatica?

Back pain typically develops from an injury, though this is not always the case. Repetitive straining motions, such as bending down multiple times to pick up heavy boxes, or from a sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident are examples of ways we injure our back. Sedentary lifestyles and obesity can also contribute to low back symptoms. Other underlying conditions may be present including stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and herniated discs. Those who suffer from degenerative disc disease usually report feeling dull, aching, and chronic pain in their lower back. While these conditions may contribute to low back pain, studies have also shown that people with these conditions do not always have pain. 

People who develop sciatica are typically between the ages of 30-50, and there are several different conditions that can lead to it. Among the most common include arthritis, bone spurs, or any injury that affects the sciatic nerve. Common injuries that cause sciatica development include sports-related collisions, harsh falls, herniated discs, or anything that occurs gradually over time through overuse, repetition, or general “wear and tear.”

It is important to note that cancers, infections, fractures and other serious diseases can present themselves as back pain. Our licensed therapists are trained in recognizing these red flags and referring you to the appropriate healthcare provider.

How can I find relief?

Back pain and sciatica are both effectively treated through physical therapy. Our licensed Physical Therapists will help determine your diagnosis before creating your treatment plan. In conjunction with your therapist, you will develop individual goals that you want to accomplish in therapy. Your treatment plan will consist of education, hands on manual therapy including soft tissue and joint mobilization, and exercise. These exercises are designed to optimize your body’s mobility and strength. The human spine is a strong and resilient structure that thrives on both mobility and stability. With sciatica, specific leg movements and stretches will be incorporated to improve your sciatic nerve’s mobility.

As you progress towards your goals, your treatment plan will be modified to ensure you continue to be challenged in therapy. The overall goal of physical therapy for back pain and sciatica is to alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and strengthen the body. At The FIT Institute (TFI), we want to help you get back to living your daily life, without having to deal about pain or discomfort.

If you are suffering from back pain or sciatica, contact our physical therapy office in Chicago, North Center, Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, Roscoe Village, IL to schedule an appointment. No matter how severe the pain may be, The FIT Institute (TFI) will help relieve it so you can get back to doing the activities you love!


How do I know if my back pain is serious?

The pain you experience in your back may either be acute or chronic, depending on how it was sustained. Acute pain means that it lasts for a short time and is usually severe. Chronic pain means that it lasts generally three months or longer and it can either cause dull or severe persistent pain. The pain you experience is typically either rooted in your back muscles or the bones in your spine. If your pain is severe enough to hinder you from doing daily tasks, if it suddenly worsens, or if it has lasted longer than three months, then it is time to seek the help of a physical therapist.

How do I get relief from back pain?

You can treat your back pain with physical therapy. Physical therapy can address back pain by helping to improve your range of motion, strengthening the muscles in the affected areas, and using targeted massage to reduce tension. In many situations, working with a physical therapist to improve can significantly reduce the severity of your back pain, and may even help you avoid more invasive procedures, such as surgery.

What is the best physical therapy treatment for back pain?

Your physical therapist will design a treatment plan based on your specific needs. Your individualized treatment plan will incorporate the best methods possible for relieving your pain, facilitating the healing process, and restoring function and movement to the affected area(s) of your back. Your initial appointment will consist of a comprehensive evaluation, which will help your physical therapist discover which forms of treatment will be best for the orthopedic, neurologic, or cardiovascular condition you are experiencing. The main stages of your plan will focus on pain relief, which may include any combination of ice and heat therapies, manual therapy, posture improvement, targeted stretches and exercises, or any other treatment that your physical therapist may deem fit. While there is no singular method for relieving back pain, your physical therapist will make sure you receive the best treatments for your needs.

How do you relieve back pain without drugs?

While medication is easy, it only helps your pain subside for a short amount of time. Over time, certain drugs can cause some unfavorable side effects, and in some cases, they can be habit-forming. With NSAIDs, you run the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. With corticosteroids, you run the risk of cataracts, high blood sugar levels, and bone loss. Luckily, there is a much safer and healthier alternative to treating persistent back pain: physical therapy. At your initial consultation, your physical therapist will ask you several questions regarding your medical history, lifestyle, and painful area(s). This information will assist your physical therapist in creating the best treatment plan for you and your specific needs, so you can be provided with long-term results.