How Active Release Therapy Can Treat Sciatica

How Active Release Therapy Can Treat Sciatica

Sciatica is a painful syndrome that occurs when the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in your body, is compressed by excess pressure in the pelvis. The sciatic nerve controls the sensors that send information from the sole of your foot up the thigh to the lower back and controls the muscles in the back of the legs. When it is irritated, you may experience sharp, unbearable pain, and a decreased range of motion. Active Release Techniques (ART®) is a patented, non-invasive, soft tissue treatment process that is effective in the treatment of sciatica.  ART® can identify and remove scar tissue and adhesions that may cause permanent damage to the sciatic nerve if left untreated. Read more to find out how ART® can treat sciatica.

Sciatica Pain Can Be Treated With Active Release Techniques (ART®)

Sciatica is a nerve compression syndrome that may cause debilitating pain, numbness, and tingling that can compromise your ability to carry out daily tasks. Studies have shown that up to 40% of people will experience sciatic pain at some point in their lives, with an estimated 3 million annual cases in the United States. ART® can help break up fibrous adhesion points, and scar tissue in the muscles surrounding your sciatic nerve, and reduce any contributing muscle spasms. Once the pressure on the nerve is released, pain symptoms are allowed to ease and often resolve.

How Active Release Therapy Works
During an Active Release Therapy session, a trained ART® practitioner will treat the affected soft tissue with a hands-on technique, placing pressure on strategic contact points, and instructing the patient to initiate specific stretching movements. This produces a sliding motion of soft tissues that assists with releasing any scar tissue in the associated tendons, muscles, and fascia. Because this modality involves pressure and movement across or against scar tissue, its efficacy is attributed to the effect of motion on healing tissue. It is well-accepted that early motion of injured tissue results in repair with reduced scar tissue formation, so it is important to seek medical care such as Active Release Therapy in the early stages of sciatic pain. 

Causes Of Sciatica


Soft tissue adhesions develop in various ways. The condition can be the result of repetitive motion injuries, acute injury-induced trauma, or even poor posture causing tension, and pressure for extended periods of time. Eventually, the adhesions can constrict blood flow, and shorten muscles, preventing the affected person from participating in his or her regular physical activities. Sciatica is more common when the following factors are present:

  • Aging: naturally occurring changes such as bone spurs, arthritis, or herniated discs
  • Prolonged sitting: if a person spends most of the day seated
  • Weight: obesity increases the amount of stress on the spine
  • Chronic conditions: for example diabetes, which increases nerve damage risks

Initially, some at-home remedies, such as applying ice packs or heat may temporarily relieve sciatic pain. However, if you believe you are suffering from sciatica it is essential to seek proper medical advice. Active Release Techniques are a non-surgical approach to relieve your pain before it may become serious enough to necessitate surgery. 

If you are experiencing this kind of painful condition, and live in Orange County, the chiropractors at Performance Health & Wellness in Irvine are ART® Certified at the highest level.  Our ART® practitioners are able to provide targeted orthopedic tests to assess the root cause of your sciatic pain before beginning any treatment. We can help you find the cause of your pain, and work with you to relieve it.  Please call 1-949-476-1250 or fill out the contact form to schedule an ART® consultation.


When suffering from this condition, stationary standing or prolonged sitting may exacerbate the pain. It is helpful to maintain an active lifestyle involving gentle stretching such as yoga, walking, or swimming and take regular stretch breaks when you do need to remain sedentary. Exercise that will strengthen your core and back muscles, and maintain a healthy weight for your frame will relieve nerve compression. Regular chiropractic visits can also help improve your posture and ease the pressure in your spine. Note: It is advisable to consult with your medical provider before beginning any new exercise regime. 

The sciatic nerve branches out from your lower back, through your hips and buttocks, and down each leg. Symptoms may appear without warning and can last for weeks at a time. Depending on where precisely the sciatic nerve is being affected, sciatica symptoms may present with:  

  • Persistent pain on one side of your rear or hips
  • Lower back or lumbar pain
  • Shooting pain through the back of the leg down to the knee or ankle
  • Weakness, numbness, burning, or tingling sensations in the leg or foot
  • Exacerbated pain when you suddenly sneeze or cough, or sit for long periods of time

Each Active Release Therapy session will be tailored to a person’s needs and their pain level tolerances. Because Active Release Techniques require pressure on the damaged areas, it may cause some discomfort and mild pain, but your practitioner will make it as comfortable as possible and will communicate with you throughout the session to make sure you are not experiencing intense pain.

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If you are seeking solutions to find complete wellness and to feel empowered to live your healthiest life, Performance Health & Wellness is the ideal partner on your journey. With a spectrum of comprehensive services to help you find balance and to feel good, our expert team is here to guide you.

Connect with yourself by connecting with the team at Performance Health & Wellness. Call (949)476-1250.

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