How to treat sciatica

Sciatica is a term describing symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower back and runs down both sides of the lower extremities. There can be many causes of sciatica and among the most common are spine conditions affecting the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, like a bulging or herniated disc. Commonly described symptoms include burning pain that shoots into the hips and legs, as well as tingling, numbness and muscle weakness throughout the lower body.

If you are dealing with these symptoms you know disruptive they can be to your quality of life, affecting your work, family, sleep and leisure time. Since each situation is different, you should work closely with your primary care doctor to develop a treatment plan for sciatica. Learning more about all of the options available can offer the best chance of returning you to normal activities.

Nonsurgical sciatica treatment

Many patients are able to find relief from sciatica through a course of doctor-prescribed conservative treatments. The goal of this type of treatment is to relieve pain while improving mobility. There are also life changes that can be made in many circumstances that can improve overall health, including the long-term health of the spine. While partnering with your doctor to treat the causes of sciatica, you may be recommended treatments like the following:

  • Medication, such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Periods of rest, as needed
  • Hot and cold compression therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Moderate exercise
  • Making a plan to quit smoking or reduce body weight

Some of the spine conditions that cause sciatic nerve compression — such as bulging and herniated discs — can potentially heal over time, which is why most doctors will attempt to exhaust conservative treatment before considering surgery.

Alternative to traditional open back surgery

If you are being recommended for surgery to treat sciatica but are anxious about some of the drawbacks of traditional open spine procedures, Laser Spine Institute can help. Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients an outpatient experience with a shorter recovery time^ compared to a hospital-based traditional open back procedure.

If your doctor believes that surgery has the best chance of relieving your sciatica symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We will review your MRI or CT scan at no cost* to help you find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.