Is surgery necessary for sciatica?

The pain associated with sciatica may lead you to believe that surgery is your only viable treatment option, but you’ll be happy to learn that there are several conservative techniques that can reduce compression on the sciatic nerve and help you manage your symptoms. In fact, many people are able to find significant relief with conservative treatments alone.

Nonsurgical sciatica treatment options

Each patient’s ideal course of sciatica treatment will vary depending on several factors, such as his or her age, overall health and the extent of the sciatic nerve compression. In general, though, many physicians recommend a combination of conservative techniques, such as:

  • Hot and/or cold therapy with heating pads and ice packs
  • Physical therapy
  • Gentle stretching exercises and low-impact exercise
  • Anti-inflammatory injections
  • Pain medication and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Some patients also choose to explore alternative techniques like chiropractic care, acupuncture and herbal supplements in addition to treatment. Before trying these methods, be sure to consult with your physician. The effectiveness of these approaches is still up for debate in the medical community.

In the event that your sciatica persists despite weeks or months of conservative and alternative treatments, you may be a candidate for surgery. While sciatica surgery is typically not necessary, it is sometimes recommended to remove pressure from the sciatic nerve in patients with debilitating symptoms that do not respond to nonsurgical care.

Laser Spine Institute offers sciatica patients a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open spine surgery that involves less risk, lower infection rates and shorter recovery periods.^ Our procedures are performed through a less than 1-inch incision by board-certified surgeons.+ Contact our team to learn more about this advanced approach to sciatica surgery. If you’re ready to learn if you are a candidate for treatment at Laser Spine Institute, ask how you can receive a free MRI review.*

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