Sciatica relief begins with conservative treatment
Anyone who deals with sciatica naturally wants relief as soon as possible. This is a condition that can severely disrupt your life, making you miss days of work and time with your friends and family. The good news is there are steps you can take to relieve the radiating pain, tingling, numbness or loss of strength in the lower body associated with sciatic nerve compression.
While being an educated and empowered patient is important, no one should self-diagnose and self-treat their condition. Work closely with your primary care doctor to confirm diagnosis of the cause of your sciatica and develop a plan of conservative, nonsurgical treatment methods to address the specific symptoms of the patient.
What treatments are available for sciatica?
The conservative treatment prescribed for sciatica relief will depend on a number of factors. In most cases, it depends on factors like your overall health, the underlying cause of the sciatic nerve compression and the specific symptoms being experienced. There are still certain methods often used because they have been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms and helping patients regain mobility. These include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication
- Strength-building exercises focused on the core muscles of the body
- Stretching exercises designed to improve flexibility and relieve pressure in the lower spine
- Physical therapy to improve posture and regain lost range of motion
- Heating pads to loosen tight muscles and cold packs for numbing and inflammation reduction
- Epidural steroid injections at the site of compression to reduce pain and inflammation
- Lifestyle changes like losing weight, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption to improve overall spine health
It can take some degree of trial and error to find the right combination of conservative treatment options for sciatica relief. In addition, some patients seek out alternative methods such as acupuncture or chiropractic care upon the recommendation of a physician or friends and family. Surgery is usually considered after weeks or months of attempting conservative treatment do not bring a return to normal activity.
If conservative treatment does not bring relief
Traditional open back surgery to relieve sciatic nerve compression is usually seen as a last resort because of the highly invasive nature of these procedures. Patients can typically expect a large incision, overnight hospitalization and a long, sometimes painful recovery period.
Minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is an alternative to these difficulties because our surgeons use a muscle-sparing incision less than 1 inch in length to access the spine. The result is an outpatient procedure that offers our patients a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication than traditional open spine surgery.
Contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine whether you might be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive outpatient spine procedures.