Sciatica treatment — conservative, alternative and surgical methods

For a lot of patients, effective sciatica treatment can be achieved by working with their doctors to develop basic conservative treatment plans. However, for those who can’t find sciatica relief despite fully exploring other treatments, surgery to decompress the sciatic nerve may be the best option.

Sciatica is a term referring to the symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, which often occurs as a result of a degenerative spine condition like a herniated disc. Because of this, sciatica treatment plans often use the same methods and have the same goals of pain management, restoring range of motion and taking steps to improve overall spine health.

Nonsurgical sciatica treatment

Early stage treatment of sciatica often involves the use of one or more of the following conservative methods:

  • Over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Low-impact exercise
  • Alternating hot and cold compresses
  • Healthy life choices like weight management, posture improvement and quitting smoking

Some patients may choose to complement their physician-recommended treatment plans with alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and herbal supplements, among others. When utilizing alternative treatment methods for sciatica, patients should keep in mind that the medical community has not formed a general consensus regarding the effectiveness of some of these techniques. Always consult with your primary doctor when exploring any new forms of treatment to ensure they are compatible with your existing care.

If surgical treatment becomes an option

It is possible for sciatica to improve, or even disappear, with time and proper treatment. But if you still haven’t found lasting relief and conservative options have run out, surgery can become an option. Many patients are reluctant to undergo surgery due to the highly invasive nature of a traditional open spine procedure, which involve a large incision, overnight hospitalization and a long, often difficult, recovery period.

Laser Spine Institute offers safer and effective alternatives to open spine surgery that are performed on an outpatient basis and require no lengthy recovery.^ Our minimally invasive spine surgery uses a less than 1-inch incision and other muscle-sparing techniques. Contact us to learn more about our minimally invasive sciatica treatment procedures and to get your no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate.

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