Sciatic treatment plans don’t have to involve pharmaceutical-grade pain killers and major surgery. There are alternatives that are less invasive and avoid the use of powerful drugs. If this is important to you, you should mention it to your physician, as he or she will likely begin your treatments for sciatica with conservative methods. In addition, you may want to research alternative methods, too.
One of the most popular types of alternative sciatic treatments is acupuncture. This Chinese healing art is based on the premise that a healthy, pain-free body has a robust, free flow of energy, or “Qi” throughout the body. When there are Qi blockages in the body, proponents of acupuncture believe the result is pain and illness like sciatica. An acupuncturist will try to remove the blockages by inserting hair-thin needles into the body. While there is little scientific evidence for how or why this treatment works, many people have experienced relief from sciatica through acupuncture.
Another alternative sciatic treatment is biofeedback. This method is based on the premise that the mind can be trained to control the actions of the body, including involuntary actions like stress and muscle tension. It is believed that, by learning to control stress and muscle tension, patients may be able to reduce the pain of sciatica. During a biofeedback session your body is monitored with sensors as you are exposed to different types of stimuli. Eventually, it is believed that you can learn to alter physical reactions like muscle tension and pain through the power of thought.
If your symptoms are too advanced for acupuncture, biofeedback, or other alternative sciatic treatment options including massage and yoga, surgery may be your only option. Fortunately, there is an alternative at that level of treatment too – called endoscopic surgery. Endoscopic surgery is less invasive and more effective than traditional open-back surgery, which comes with many side effects and risks like infection. Endoscopy, which we use at Laser Spine Institute, avoids some of these complications because our procedures involve a small incision, rather than a large incision that causes muscle damage and a lot of scar tissue.