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Treating Sciatica with Physiotherapy & Dry Needling

Treating Sciatica with Physiotherapy & Dry Needling

Sciatic nerve pain can be extremely difficult to deal with and a long-term chronic condition. It can affect people’s ability to exercise, work and generally take enjoyment from everyday life.

What Is Sciatica Pain?

When you feel a burning or stinging pain radiating from your lower back to your hips and legs, it may be from your sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and sciatica pain occurs when the nerve is pinched. Because of its length, the pain can travel to your buttocks and down your legs. It typically affects only one side of the body.

This condition most commonly happens to people with a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. People with bone spurs, pressure due to excess body weight, and jobs that require heavy lifting are also at high risk for sciatica.

What Is Dry Needling?

Dry needling, also known as trigger point therapy, is a physiotherapy technique used to relieve chronic pain and prevent future injuries. It is most effective when used in combination with other techniques.

While both involve the use of needles for relief, this treatment method should not be mistaken for acupuncture. Acupuncture aims to relieve pain by balancing the body’s energy. On the other hand, dry needling entails stimulating and unknotting your trigger points that are causing the pain.

How Dry Needling Alleviates Sciatica Pain

Sciatica can cause pain so excruciating that some patients can’t even get out of bed. Aside from radiating pain, it is also characterized by numbness and a pinching sensation. While acute sciatica typically lasts 4 to 8 weeks, it can eventually turn chronic.

With dry needling, hair-thin needles puncture the skin to reach the knotted muscle. Your physiotherapist gently manipulates the needle before removing it. This creates a twitch response that depolarizes the tissue. They will repeat the process at other trigger points, if necessary.

Dry needling relieves the tension in soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Experts believe that puncturing tissues stimulates blood flow to the area, thereby soothing pain. Several clinicians, like physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, and chiropractors, perform this technique.

For sciatica due to lumbar stenosis, dry needling decreases the tightness in spinal muscles, reducing the compression on vertebrae and sciatic nerve. In cases of pain reaching the back of your leg, physiotherapists can target the following trigger points:

Piriformis muscles

Gluteus minimus

Gluteus medius

Many people hesitate to try dry needling because the procedure makes use of needles. At first prick, patients may feel discomfort or pressure against their skin. However, this is normal, and any slight pain often subsides within 2 hours to 2 days.


Here at Don Kelly Physiotherapy and Acupuncture clinic we have treated this very common condition very successfully in both our Limerick and Charleville clinics.

Physio exercises and acupressure: This can be an ancient type of treatment that is comparable to acupuncture, but does not use needles. It applies pressure to particular pressure points which encourages blood circulation, relieves muscle tension, and triggers our body natural healing : 

I have treated my patients with a 100% success rate. Armed with experience in the last 20 years of providing my physiotherapy services in Limerick and Charleville.

If you experience chronic pain, injuries, or advice for knee surgery and replacement please don’t hesitate to reach out. I have treated thousands of my patients with successful results over the last 20 years of my physio services. 

BEFORE YOU SAY YES TO KNEE SURGERY REPLACEMENT– give me a ring for an assessment. 

My treatment plan is the result of my experience and knowledge in treating chronic pains and injuries over the last 20 years. This is the holistic plan to guarantee pain relief, prevent recurring pains, and faster recovery. 



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