Medications to take for sciatica pain relief
Sciatica is a term used to describe the debilitating symptoms that can occur as the result of pressure on the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body and has its roots in the lower back. About 40 percent of people will experience sciatica at some point during their lifetimes. Symptoms include pain — often severe — that can start in the lower back and radiate through the pelvic area into the legs and feet. The sciatica sufferer may also experience numbness and tingling sensations, as well as muscle weakness. Usually the symptoms will affect only one side of the body.
If you suspect that you’re experiencing sciatic nerve pain, then you’ll want to consult with your doctor and obtain a medical diagnosis. Some forms of sciatica are considered medical emergencies, including cauda equina syndrome. This is a somewhat rare condition that is characterized by the inability to control the bladder or bowels, or both. Additionally, if one of your legs is numb or so weak that you cannot walk, then you will want to consult with a doctor immediately.
Six medications to try for sciatica relief
For many people experiencing sciatic nerve pain, doctors will recommend a conservative treatment plan that will likely include prescription and/or over-the-counter medications. Here are six types of medications commonly found in sciatica treatment plans:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and aspirin
- Prescription or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen
- Prescription muscle relaxants
- Prescription antidepressants
- Lumbar epidural steroid injections
- Topically applied lidocaine patches
Medication can be an important part of treatment for sciatica, and you may need to try a few different medications before you find one that provides adequate pain relief for you. Other conservative treatments that have helped many sciatica patients include massage therapy, hot and cold compresses and gentle stretching and bending exercises.
If several weeks or months of pursuing a conservative course of treatment don’t lead to adequate relief of your sciatica, then you may be interested in the minimally invasive outpatient surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute as a treatment option. Our minimally invasive procedures offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^
Would you like to learn more? We’ll be happy to tell you about our free MRI review,* which can help determine whether you’re a candidate for treatment at Laser Spine Institute. Contact us today to get started.