The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back down the back of your legs to your feet. When this nerve is pinched or inflamed, the resulting sensations of pain, numbness, or tingling are known as sciatica. The causes of this condition vary, but it’s most common in people between 30 and 50 years of age and those with spinal stenosis or degenerated or herniated disks. Fortunately, there are many treatments available with high rates of success.
5 Types of Sciatica Treatment
1. Physical Therapy
Exercise and physical therapy can be very effective, drug-free treatments for back pain. Targeted stretching and exercise moves developed by a physical therapist can help increase blood flow and flexibility, which will mitigate the underlying inflammation.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can be used for immediate and long-term pain relief. If you experience muscle spasms, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants as well. However, these drugs generally treat only the symptoms and don’t do much for the underlying cause of the sciatica itself, so they should be used as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan.
3. Epidural Injection
If other treatments fail to alleviate your sciatica symptoms, your doctor may suggest an epidural injection of steroids. The goal is to reduce inflammation to allow the area to heal. There is a risk of side effects, such as reduced bone density, so no more than three injections are given in a one-year period.
4. Alternative Treatments
Acupuncture, Yoga, trigger point massage, spinal manipulation, and biofeedback exercises are some of the alternative therapies available. Although the evidence of the effectiveness of these treatments is mixed, they carry a low risk of side effects, so they are generally safe to try.
When all other treatments have failed, your doctor may suggest surgery, specifically laminectomy or discectomy, whereby the surgeon removes the source of pressure on the sciatic nerve. Because surgery carries a significantly higher risk of adverse effects than other treatments, it’s typically the last resort for chronic pain treatment. However, it can be effective, with pain relief lasting several years.
If you’re dealing with neck and back pain and suspect sciatica, contact Dr. Suelane Do Ouro - New York Pain Relief Medicine. As New York City’s top-rated pain treatment physician with more than 13 years of experience, Dr. Suelane Do Ouro is renowned for her comprehensive and personalized approach to the treatment of every patient. And because she has suffered from chronic pain in the past, she understands the debilitating effects it can have and is passionate about improving her patients’ quality of life. To schedule an appointment, call (646) 329-6585, or visit her website to learn more.