Physical Therapy Treatment for Sciatica

What in the world?  Treatment for sciatica?  Physical Therapy?  I thought this blog was about enjoying life.  None of that seems terrible enjoyable.

Umm, well, I haven’t been very forthcoming around here.  Yes, I’ve still been enjoying life and I love sharing tips and tricks and helping motivate you to get things done in an enjoyable way.

But.  For going on five months I’ve been having a bit of a struggle with sciatica.  Certainly that is a common condition and I don’t need to go into any description here.  Everyone, including myself, has experienced back pain to some degree and I’m sure some sciatica symptoms now and then.

Let’s just say mine seems to be reluctant to let go.

What’s Up

So here’s what’s up.  Right smack in the middle of my December Fit Challenge, my back started acting up.  That’s nothing new and something I’ve either battled or handled for my entire life.

But this time.  It was a little different.  It morphed into severe sciatica which has progressively gotten worse and has not responded to any treatment.

In my wildest dreams, I would never have guessed I would have spent the last four-plus months doing what I’ve been doing.

I’ve not shared any of this here because this is my happy place (and hopefully yours too!) and my blog is about enjoying life.

But I’m coming clean on this part of my life and sharing a positive experience I’m having with physical therapy.


I am not a health care specialist and am not making any claims or recommendations as such. All this is just my personal experience. I may have mislabeled some of the treatments or machines and any error is mine alone.

Exclusively Spine Physical Therapy

After several failed treatments, my wonderful naturopathic doctor, Dr Jen Gentry, referred me to Exclusively Spine for decompression therapy. 

Dr Melissa and her staff are so friendly and professional and, well, just plain wonderful, they help make this pain journey much easier.  I feel like entering their clinic is a happy place.

Vertebral Axial Decompression (VAX-D®) Therapy

The primary therapy I was referred for is the VAX-D Therapy Tables which are used to gently separate the bones in the spine.  Exclusively Spine is the only provider in Phoenix to offer this system and luckily they aren’t too far from home.

I’m thankful to have found Exclusively Spine and am praying their treatments are what I need to avoid surgery.

Here is a picture of Dr Melissa (with gorgeous princess hair) harnessing me to the table for my treatment.  It’s a slow and gentle process, but lying on my stomach with this condition is the worst part, so, I won’t lie, it’s a tough 1/2 hour.

CDM Monitored Rehab Systems Back Extension

Another part of my therapy is computerized testing of the spine.  This is conducted on this special back extension machine.  It’s much like any back extension machine you’d see in a gym, except with a computer attached to it.  Playing computer games.  Which I’m terrible at. 

A series of five or six different games test strength and agility (I guess) but since I’m not terribly intuitive (or something) I’m just terrible and the computer makes big crashing or breaking noises at each failure.  I laugh out loud while I’m wrecking every wall.  I love it, but I don’t think I’m improving much.


Before any treatments, I do a normal series of hamstring stretches, hip stretches and gentle exercises such as bridges and resistance band lower body moves.

And then.  Dr Melissa looms over me and manhandles my joints and muscles into unnatural positions but has me laughing so hard I it’s over before I can even “oomph” or complain.

Hydromassage Bed

Oh, my.  Any ill will generated by the pain of these treatments is completely forgotten once I’m in the arms of the warm hydromassage bed.  I’m like a noodle when I get out, so relaxed.  For sure something to look forward to!

Kinesio Taping

Before I leave, my lower spine gets taped up with a lovely hot pink kinesio tape.  I know this PT tape doesn’t work for everyone or for every condition, but I have found it really helpful in this case.

After Therapy

My trip home is about 30 minutes, so I keep ice packs in a cooler for the car ride.  That’s about as much ice as I’m interested in.

A big bottle of water is the most important thing I feel like I need after PT.

Wrap Up

Well, now you know some of the struggle I’ve had.  Every single person I know is going through something right now and my prayer is we all find answers for a bright tomorrow.  Sending lots of love.  Have a wonderful weekend.

4 Comment

  1. C very glad you found a good provider. That alone is a success story. Keep the faith❤️!

  2. Corine, thank you for sharing your journey with us. This sort of stuff is very important, too…not just the “fun” or “happy” stuff. Continuing to pray for your healing. Oh, and that Hydromassage bed sounds AMAZING! Get well soon, friend!

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