How is Sciatica Treated?

If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica, or you simply suspect that you may have sciatica, you may wonder how it is treated. There are numerous options available to help people who have sciatica, including conservative (non-surgical) treatments, some alternative suggestions and even surgical options that are generally reserved for more serious cases.

Conservative options

After receiving your diagnosis, your physician will likely recommend that you adopt a regimen of various non-surgical treatments. Some of the more conservative options that are often suggested include taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs), becoming more mindful of one’s posture and taking intermittent periods of rest. In addition, sometimes hot/cold treatment is recommended, in which the patient will use heat, cold or a combination of the two to address inflammation and pain. One option may work better than another, depending on the individual. Gentle exercise and stretching may also help address sciatica pain, as can training with light weights. When they are done properly, these activities can strengthen back and core muscles and alleviate excess strain on the affected areas.

How sciatica is treated may also depend on a patient’s willingness to try alternative treatments, which are not necessarily condoned by mainstream medicine. You may wish to consider alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic treatment. While the merits of these approaches is still debated within the medical community, some patients find them to be helpful.

Surgical options

In general, the pain and other problems associated with sciatica dissipate slowly over time, and the preceding suggestions can mitigate them in the interim. In the rare case that weeks or months of treatment don’t provide relief, or the ongoing issues are interfering with everyday life, it may be time to seek surgery. Sciatica is often a result of nerve compression in the lower back due to a bone spur, herniated disc or even vertebral slippage (also known as spondylolisthesis). In these circumstances, spine surgery may help remove the pressure placed upon the nerve, potentially eliminating the pain.

If surgery is indicated in your situation, be sure to examine all of your available options by investigating the procedures and surgeons available to you. In addition to the traditional open spine surgery options, there are also many minimally invasive surgeries that may be appropriate for you. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more.

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