4 Effective Treatments for Sciatica

4 Effective Treatments for Sciatica

Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower spine down into your legs and feet. That’s why sciatica, or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, causes pain that seems to start in your back and radiate down through your legs. You could also suffer from tingling, numbness, or leg weakness due to sciatica.

At Performance Pain & Sports Medicine, with office locations in Lawrenceville and Raritan, New Jersey, and Houston, Texas, our team of medical experts, led by Dr. Suzanne Manzi and Dr. Matthias Wiederholz, can diagnose your sciatica and recommend effective treatment options to resolve the problem and take care of your pain.

Here are some of the treatments and therapies we recommend for our patients.

1. Rest and recuperation

Many sciatica patients can see improvement after six weeks of rest and recuperation. This might include physical therapy exercises and lower back and leg stretches, as well as adjustments to your posture to relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve. 

Simple, at-home treatment with a few days of cold packs, followed by a few days of alternating hot and cold packs, against your lower back several times throughout the day can also make a big difference.

You could need a period of limited bed rest, as well. We don’t typically recommend more than three days of rest before returning to normal activities. If basic rest and recuperation don’t produce enough improvement in your symptoms, we can investigate other treatment options for your sciatica symptoms.

2. Medication management

Some medications can help you get your sciatica under control.

You can address temporary pain with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen. However, it may not be a good idea to keep taking these medications regularly over the long term, as that can lead to systemic damage down the road.

To provide pain relief at the source, we can target your irritated sciatic nerve with steroid injections. Our team may also recommend you try stronger muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory medications. Some sciatica patients benefit from taking tricyclic antidepressants or anti-seizure medications, as well.

3. Alternative therapies

Your sciatica symptoms could improve following treatment with an alternative therapy like yoga or massage. Biofeedback and acupuncture therapy also show promise for effectively reducing the symptoms of sciatica. And many alternative therapies are completely noninvasive, so you won’t have to worry about side effects or recovery time.

4. Surgical intervention

Sciatica often occurs due to compression of the sciatic nerve, possibly by a herniated disc or a bone spur. Sciatica can also be related to spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the areas around your spine.

If more conservative treatments don’t do enough to relieve your sciatica symptoms for three months or more, you might need surgery to address the problem. With a discectomy or laminectomy, we can remove the cause of the pressure irritating your sciatic nerve.

For diagnosis and treatment of sciatica, get in touch with our team at Performance Pain & Sports Medicine today. You can schedule your appointment by calling our office most convenient to you or requesting an appointment online.

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