Sciatica treatment: options for long-term relief
Sciatica is a term for a complex group of symptoms, which means while there is no direct cure for this condition there are many effective treatment options. Sciatica is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve, which can lead to a variety of painful issues, including lower back pain, weakness and spasms in the legs and tingling or numbness in the toes.
There can be a range of underlying causes of sciatica as well, such as a herniated spinal disc, which can have an effect on the best course of treatment. In most cases, doctors will recommend a course of conservative therapies to help manage pain and improve mobility while the progress of the underlying cause is monitored.
Options for sciatica treatment
When a degenerative spine condition is diagnosed as the underlying cause of sciatica, one of the primary goals of treatment is to take steps to reduce pressure being placed on the spinal column. Some of the specific measures your doctor may recommend include:
- Physical therapy. Strengthening and stretching the muscles in the lower back can relieve back pain and reduces the strain placed on the lumbar spine and sciatic nerve. Targeted exercises are also a great way to avoid future injury.
- Pelvic stabilization. Pelvic stabilization techniques also strengthen the muscles between the pelvis and lower back and decrease pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Soft tissue manual therapy. Chiropractic sessions can correct the alignment of the spine and reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Diet counseling. Losing weight can take a large amount of pressure off the spine and relieve sciatic pain.
Additionally, pain management techniques can be effective for people waiting for their backs to fully heal. Methods like pain medication, hot/cold therapy and massage treatment can reduce pain in the short term while other treatments focus on relieving the cause of sciatica in the long term.
When to consider surgery for sciatica treatment
Sciatica is commonly caused by the natural degeneration of the spinal anatomy — particularly in older patients. Herniated discs, arthritic vertebral joints, bone spurs and spinal stenosis can all lead to the compression of the sciatic nerve, leaving the patient in pain. Surgery to access the spine and directly remove the source of sciatic nerve compression can become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatments have not brought the relief necessary for a good quality of life.
If you are considering surgery for sciatica relief, contact Laser Spine Institute. We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and have been able to help more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain since 2005.
To learn more, reach out to our caring and dedicated team today for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.