Back Pain Relief Ferndale, Dearborn, Ypsilanti, Dearborn Heights, and Southfield, MI

Back Pain Relief

Back Pain vs. Sciatica: What’s the Difference?

Did you know that one in every four Americans has experienced back pain within the past three months? According to the American Physical Therapy Association, back pain is the most commonly experienced type of pain across the United States. It usually develops from a muscle strain or injury, but sometimes your discomfort may not be just general back pain, it could be sciatica.

Sciatica, while it still falls under the definition of “back pain” is a very specific type. It is also incredibly common. Sciatica is typically felt in the lower back, legs, or buttocks, and it develops from issues surrounding the nerves. Whether you’re experiencing general back pain or sciatica pain, our licensed Michigan physical therapists can help relieve your symptoms and restore you to optimum levels of physical function.

In many cases, Michigan physical therapy treatments can even eliminate the need for harmful pain-management drugs, such as opioids, or an invasive surgical procedure. If you are suffering from back pain, contact US Rehabilitation & Health Services today. One of our dedicated physical therapists will design a treatment plan specific for your needs, in order to provide relief and recovery.

Why do back pain and sciatica occur?

The most common cause of back pain is from sustaining an injury. This can happen in one of two ways – from an instant, sudden trauma (such as a car accident) or from a repetitive-use injury that develops gradually over time (such as bending down multiple times throughout the week to pick up heavy boxes). Back pain can also result from underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, which can also lead to sciatica. Degenerative disc disease is another common culprit for back pain, which is typically caused by obesity or poor posture. Those who suffer from degenerative disc disease usually report feeling chronic dull aches in their lower back.

The medical term for sciatica is “lumbar radiculopathy,” and unlike general back pain, it is a bit harder to understand. Sciatica typically affects people aged 30-50, and there are several different ways in which it can develop. Certain conditions can lead to sciatica, such as bone spurs, arthritis, or any injury that affects the sciatic nerve. Injuries can also lead to sciatica, such as herniated discs, harsh falls, sports-related collisions, or anything that occurs gradually over time through overuse, repetition, or general “wear and tear.”

Knowing the difference:

Back pain

“Back pain” is an all-encompassing term used to describe a vast number of conditions that cause pain in the upper or lower back. Sports-related injuries, poor posture, and car accidents are just a few of the many ways that someone can develop back pain.

Back pain can be described as either acute or chronic. 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.

No matter what the case may be, one of our Michigan physical therapists can set up a treatment plan based on your specific back pain, its location, and your medical history.


Those who have experienced sciatica typically report it as being very uncomfortable. Fortunately, it is also fairly easy to diagnose.

Sciatica pain is typically reported as being very uncomfortable. The silver lining is that it is also easy to diagnose. 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 ends at the bottom of each foot.

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes “pinched” or otherwise damaged in some way, thus resulting in a “stinging,” “burning,” or “shooting” sensation in the lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.

Contact US Rehabilitation & Health Services:

If you’re suffering from back pain or sciatica, you can find safe and effective treatments with physical therapy. Our highly-trained Michigan physical therapists will help determine your diagnosis before creating your treatment plan. 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 our physical therapist deems fit.

As you progress and improve, our physical therapist will expand on your exercises and stretches by making them more intensive over time. This will help increase your overall strength and range of motion. Those diagnosed with sciatica will likely be prescribed specific leg stretches, in order to loosen up the sciatic nerve.

The overall goal of physical therapy for back pain and sciatica is to relieve pain, strengthen the body, and improve overall function. At US Rehabilitation & Health Services, we want to help you get back to living your daily life, without having to worry about pain or discomfort.

If you are suffering from back pain or sciatica, contact our physical therapy offices today at Ferndale, Dearborn, Ypsilanti, Dearborn Heights, and Southfield, MI centers to schedule your initial consultation. No matter how severe the pain may be, US Rehabilitation & Health Services will help relieve it so you can get back to doing the activities you love.