How to conservatively treat sciatica
If you are dealing with painful sciatica, you are likely anxious to find out what treatments might be able to reduce your discomfort. Sciatica can result when a degenerative spinal condition — such as a bulging disc or a bone spur — puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, which extends from the base of the spine down through the legs. This can cause chronic pain as well as numbness and tingling in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs and feet. Individuals who experience these symptoms can have trouble with simple everyday activities, such as sitting and sleeping, and will likely want to begin sciatica treatment as soon as possible. The good news is that there are a variety of conservative treatments that may provide you with the relief you’ve been searching for.
Diagnosing and treating sciatica
The first step in treating your symptoms is seeing a physician who can confirm the cause of your discomfort and devise a sciatica treatment plan. You will likely be asked to provide your medical history and submit to a physical exam to test your flexibility and range of motion. You may also undergo an imaging test, such as an X-ray or MRI, to identify the underlying spinal condition that is causing the sciatic nerve to be compressed.
Once the source of your nerve compression has been identified, your physician will likely suggest that you try a combination of conservative therapies for several weeks. Your options may include:
- Physical therapy
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medication
- The alternating use of hot and cold packs
- Corticosteroid injections
- Using better posture
- Avoiding high-impact activities
Some individuals also claim to experience relief after trying alternative treatments such as chiropractic manipulation and massage therapy, though the clinical effectiveness of these treatments is still being debated.
The next step when conservative treatment fails
While many individuals will see their symptoms diminish to an acceptable level after conservative sciatica treatment, some may need to look into surgical options. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures.^ If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient treatment, we’d be happy to provide you with a free MRI review.*
To get started, contact Laser Spine Institute today.