Shift Performance PT


If you wake up in the morning with nagging back pain, experience an achy feeling in your back, buttock, or thigh, or find yourself cautious about your activities for fear of hurting your back, then physical therapy at Shift Performance Physical Therapy could be the solution you’re seeking. Back pain and sciatica, often confused with each other, require different approaches for treatment. While back pain is specific to the upper, mid, or low back, sciatica presents as a more diffuse, radiating pain down the buttock, thigh, and leg. Another condition, radiculopathy, involves radiating numbness, tingling, burning, or sharp pain in a specific part of the leg, often related to a herniated disc or nerve entrapment.

At Shift Performance Physical Therapy, we focus on addressing the root causes of your pain rather than just masking symptoms with medication. Our goal is to provide effective relief for both back pain and sciatica through physical therapy, eliminating the need for harmful painkillers like opioids and possibly avoiding invasive surgical procedures. Specializing in treating former athletes and active individuals, we are committed to restoring your mobility and enhancing your overall quality of life.

Understanding Back Pain and Sciatica

What Are Back Pain and Sciatica?

Back pain can manifest in various locations, while sciatica typically extends from the lower back down the leg. These conditions limit mobility and performance, making daily activities challenging.

Impact on Former Athletes

Former athletes often find these conditions particularly debilitating, affecting not only their physical capabilities but also their emotional well-being. The transition from an active to a restricted lifestyle can lead to increased pain and frustration.

Physical Therapy’s Role in Relief and Recovery

Our tailored treatment plans focus on each athlete’s unique strain and body mechanics, combining pain relief with strengthening and flexibility exercises specific to their needs and lifestyle.

Ergonomic and Lifestyle Education

Education on maintaining spine health and ergonomic principles is essential in preventing further spinal issues and maintaining an active lifestyle after treatment.

Sciatica-Specific Treatments

We offer specialized treatments to relieve sciatica by addressing nerve compression and its underlying causes, ensuring long-term wellness.

What Caused My Back Pain or Sciatica?

General back pain typically develops as the result of an injury. This can be due to repetitive straining motions, such as leaning down multiple times throughout the day to pick up a toddler, or a more serious, sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident. Underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, can also cause immense pain, and cause radiculopathy pain to the thigh, leg, or foot. Degenerative disc disease is a common condition as we age, which can result in back pain. Those with this condition typically report dull, aching pains in their lower back, and have difficulty with prolonged standing or walking.

Sciatica’s technical name is “lumbar radiculopathy.” People who develop this condition are generally between the ages of 30 and 50. Many different types of injuries can cause the development of sciatica, including arthritis, bone spurs, or any other injury that impacts the sciatic nerve. Most commonly, we find that people lose their flexibility in the hips and pelvis, which causes the gluteus and hip muscles to become tightened. This in turn, alters the mechanics of the spine, and compression to the sciatic nerve as it travels through these tissues.


Distinguishing Between Back Pain and Sciatica

Understanding the specific characteristics of sciatica and back pain is crucial for effective treatment and targeted recovery plans.

Causes of Back Pain and Sciatica

Back pain can stem from sports-related stress, while sciatica often arises from lifestyle changes post-athletic career. Addressing these factors is vital for effective treatment and prevention.


Shift Performance Physical Therapy’s Comprehensive Approach

Our approach integrates practical exercises into treatment plans, focusing on long-term solutions to prevent recurrences and empowering clients for self-management.

Embark on Your Recovery Journey

Start your journey to recovery with us. Our team is committed to supporting your emotional and physical recovery, helping you reclaim an active, pain-free life.

Contact (865) 217-6084 to schedule your consultation at Shift Performance Physical Therapy.


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Chris Conner

Shift Performance PT is not your ordinary PT! Dr. Blake is very knowledgeable but takes the time to get to know you, your lifestyle, and your goals. I have had lower back pain for years and thought I’d never be able to lift heavy again. I had basically given up on squats and deadlifts. I also have general back pain anytime I work in my yard or do construction projects around the house or church. But with his instruction and therapy I am stronger than ever and I feel better than I have in years! I highly recommend Shift Performance PT and if I could give him more than 5 stars, I would!! 

Robert Avery

I stumbled on a biz card for Shift Performance while working out at Bullman’s. Though I’d been going to the gym regularly for over a year (doing mostly cardio), I wasn’t seeing gains anymore and had developed some lower back problems. I knew I had to have more quality workouts. That said, my schedule is crazy, I’m neither a morning nor after-work athlete, and I don’t love group classes. I need flexibility but also structure/accountability, coaching, and personalization. That is exactly what I’ve gotten with Blake. And results. He puts in the time, I put in the time. And it works. Blake creates 4-5 workouts for me each week that I complete on my schedule, and we have a monthly check-in to train on new stuff, recognize improvements or setbacks, and reset goals. Can’t recommend Shift Performance enough!!