Publication Date

Spring 2015

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Russell E. Carter, PT, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Dale Schuit, PT, Ph.D., MS

Third Advisor

Roberta O'Shea, PT, DPT, Ph.D.


Background/purpose: Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide and is frequently accompanied by numbness, tingling, and burning sensation in the lower extremities. Oftentimes, LBP with lower extremity symptoms is treated with core stabilization exercises and nerve gliding activities, but limited research exists for the use of nerve glides for radicular lower extremity pain.

Case Description: The patient was a 67 year-old female with a chronic episode of LBP and left lower extremity sciatic pain. The patient’s symptoms included pain in the lower back and posterior thigh after sitting, standing, or ambulating for more than 10 minutes.

Outcomes: Patient completed 15 outpatient treatment sessions and showed a considerable decrease in LBP as evidenced by a clinically significant improvement in score on the Modified Oswestry survey. She also demonstrated an increase in bilateral multifidus strength as well as reports of decreased pain and reduction in lower extremity symptoms after the use of sciatic nerve glides.

Discussion: The subject’s decreased pain and reduced frequency of lower extremity radicular symptoms are indicators of increased core stability and improved postural habits. Sciatic nerve glides helped reduce lower extremity radicular symptoms and pain. Future research can help to determine the preferred treatment methods for patients with LBP and lower extremity radicular symptoms.