Sciatica/Low Back Pain Specialist

Imelda Tan, PT, DPT, CES -  - Physical Therapist

Fifth Avenue Physical Therapy

Imelda Tan, PT, DPT, CES

Physical Therapist located in Midtown East, New York, NY

As a leading physical therapist in Manhattan's Midtown East neighborhood, Dr. Imelda Tan, PT, DPT, CES helps New York City patients alleviate low back pain and sciatica symptoms, including pain and numbness that radiates down the buttock and leg.

Sciatica / Low Back Pain Q&A

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition that causes pain and discomfort to radiate along the sciatic nerve pathway from your lower back down your leg. It most commonly occurs when the nerve root becomes irritated by a herniated disc or other condition in your spine that causes the nerve to become compressed or impinged. Sciatica also occurs during pregnancy when the expanding uterus presses against the nerves and spine. Other common causes include obesity, wearing high heels and sleeping on a non-supportive mattress.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

In most cases, sciatica symptoms occur only on one side of the body, extending all the way from the lower back or buttock down the length of the leg, sometimes stopping at the knee or extending all the way to the toes. Symptoms are usually fairly easy to recognize and may include:

  • low back pain

  • pain in the buttocks or leg that becomes worse when sitting or lying down

  • numbness, burning or tingling sensations extending down the leg

  • weakness in the affected leg

  • continual achiness in one side of the buttocks

  • shooting pain down one leg that makes it difficult to stand

The severity of symptoms can vary significantly from one person to another, causing debilitating pain in some patients while others may have symptoms that occur intermittently or are irritating but relatively mild.

How does physical therapy help alleviate symptoms of sciatica?

Dr. Imelda Tan, PT, DPT, CES helps patients alleviate the symptoms of sciatica by strengthening the core muscles and back muscles to help keep the spine in better alignment and relieve some of the pressure and strain on the back and spine. She also teaches patients how to perform gentle stretching motions that can help increase mobility while decreasing painful symptoms. Because each patient experiences pain differently, Imelda performs an in-depth exam and evaluation to determine the best types of exercises for optimal results.

Insurance & Direct Access

Physical Therapy is a medical expense covered by most major insurance plans. In order for therapy to be reimbursed by insurance, a doctor's prescription is usually required.  However current trends in Physical Therapy now allow therapists practicing in New York State to evaluate and treat patients without an MD referral or prescription. This is called Direct Access. You are entitled to a 30-day treatment period or 10 visits, whichever occurs first. This is an advantage for patients who wanted to get immediate care without making an appointment with the doctor. After performing the evaluation, your Physical Therapist will communicate with your primary care physician regarding medical findings as necessary. If further treatment is needed, then a referral from the physician is required. 

Most insurances pay for treatment under Direct Access. Our Insurance experts will verify coverage prior to your first physical therapy appointment. If your insurance plan doesn't pay for Direct Access, we can assist you in getting a Physical Therapy prescription/referral or you can payout of your pocket for a discounted fee in order to receive treatment.

Blue Cross Blue Shield
GWH-Cigna (formerly Great West Healthcare)
Mail Handlers Benefit Plan
Oxford (UnitedHealthcare)