Sciatic nerve pain can be a nuisance, impacting the daily lives of 40% of the population, but you don’t need to put up with the pain. Keep reading to learn more about sciatica and the treatment options that a sciatica specialist can provide.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the name given to the painful condition caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, though it’s sometimes referred to as lumbar radiculopathy. This is usually because of an injury, or some other underlying medical cause – like a bulging disc, a herniated disc or spinal stenosis.
Located primarily in the lower back, the sciatic nerve travels down into each leg and symptoms can present on one or both sides of your body. This pain is common and is straightforward for a well-trained doctor to diagnose – or you can use an online condition checker for a preliminary idea.
It’s most commonly characterized by sharp, electric shooting, and radiating pain from your lower back to your legs. However, sciatica symptoms may also include any of the following:
- severe cramps
- dull, throbbing ache
- weakness or numbness
What treatments are there for Sciatica?
Thankfully, there’s a range of sciatica pain treatments available. In some cases, sciatic pain can resolve itself with rest, but, if the pain persists for longer than two weeks, a sciatica specialist can help.
The treatments typically focus on anti-inflammation, to limit the compression of the sciatic nerve and could include:
Application of hot or cold compresses to the lower back
Typically, this will start with cold compresses to lower the body temperature and constrict the blood vessels to reduce inflammation and numb the pain. Once the inflammation has subsided, you’ll then swap to warm/hot compresses.
Physical therapy focused on gentle movement
Depending on the severity of your pain, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. This is typically a custom plan developed specifically to target your pain and regain the normal movement you once had. This could include a range of movements to help naturally open the nerve and limit nerve compression.
Since inflammation is a leading cause of nerve compression, your doctor may consider non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These will typically be given in addition to pain medications, to manage your pain while the inflammation is brought down.
Steroid injections to relieve pain and inflammation
In a similar fashion to anti-inflammatory medications, your doctor may prescribe inflammation relieving injections. Typically, this will be a steroid like cortisone, designed to bring down the inflammation and relieve the pain.
It’s possible to entirely manage the pain caused by sciatica if proper treatment is pursued.
Jenkins NeuroSpine is the tri-state area’s top choice for sciatica pain management, giving every patient access to a nationally-renowned spine surgeon and industry-leading technology in our 360-degree-treatment clinics.