Up to 40% of people in America will experience sciatica at some point during their lifetimes. This is a very painful condition that affects your sciatic nerve and can limit your ability to carry out simple day-to-day tasks.
People living with sciatica may experience one period of this condition during their lives. However, depending on the cause of their sciatica, for others, it can become a chronic condition that flares up regularly.
Fortunately, there are several options when it comes to sciatic nerve pain treatment. These vary from managing the nerve pain in your back to tackling the cause of sciatica.
Are you struggling with lower back or hip nerve pain? Then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out everything you need to know about sciatic nerve pain treatment options.
What is Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back down through your hips and buttocks. It extends down both of your legs to your ankles, however, only one leg generally experiences sciatic nerve pain, also known as sciatica.
This happens when the nerve (or area around it) becomes inflammed. This can cause pain along the nerve itself (from your buttocks to your ankle) and can leave your legs feeling numb. A number of things can cause this — let’s take a closer look at these.
Common Sciatic Nerve Pain Causes
Understanding the causes of sciatic nerve pain can help you to find an effect treatment for it. Usually this occurs when something compresses, inflames, or irritates your sciatic nerve.
The most common causes of this are:
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries as a result of trauma
- Lumber spinal stenosis
- Piriformis syndrome
- Spinal tumors
Other less common causes of sciatica include endometriosis, spinal abscesses, and nerve damage from diabetes. You may also experience sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy, as the foetus grows. This should subside after you have given birth.
Because a number of different things can cause sciatica, this also means that there are several different ways to treat it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things that your doctor might recommend.
Pain Management Treatments
While you are getting to the root of the problem, most doctors will recommend pain relief options to people with sciatica.
They may recommend pain relief medication, such as asprin, and they may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications. Muscle relaxants in particular can help to relieve pressure on the siactic nerve.
If you are unable to use certain types of pain relief medication, you can also use ice packs to provide immediate relief. This is not a long-term solution but it can make you more comfortable while doctors get to the heart of the problem.
Physical Therapy and Anti-Inflammatory Exercises
A lot of doctors will recommend physical therapy exercises to help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Doing these regularly can help to relieve sciatica within a couple of weeks. Ideally, you should set aside a little time every day to target your sciatica.
Some commonly used anti-inflammatory exercises include:
- Alternating knee-to-chest bends
- Standing hamstring stretches
- Pelvic tilt exercises
- Glute bridges and lying deep gluteal stretches
Of course, not all exercises are suitable for everyone. You need to take any other physical needs or limitations into account before you do them. So it’s a good idea to get advice from a professional physiotherapist and to not push your body if you are struggling.
You may find that you have to gradually build up to certain exercises. Start slowly and you will often find that they get easier with time.
Your physiotherapist may also recommend alternative pain relief treatments, such as acupuncture or theraputic yoga.
Your doctor may recommend spinal injections to treat your sciatica. This often happens if a patient has been struggling with sciatica for four months or more. Or you may receive them if your pain is making physical therapy too difficult.
Spinal injection treatments involve injecting the inflammed area of your spine with a local anesthetic and steroid medication. This goes into the epidural space around your spinal cord and sciatic nerve.
Spinal injections can reduce the inflammation in this area and improve your mobility in the affected area. It is also very effective relief for sciatic nerve pain. This makes it much easier for patients who are struggling to complete beneficial physical therapy.
Surgery for Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief
It is very rare that a doctor will recommend having surgery to relieve sciatica. However, some conditions do require surgical assistance if they do not heal on their own.
For example, most herniated discs will heal on their own with time. If they do not, then a microdiscectomy will help. This clears out sections of the herniated disc that are putting pressure on the spinal cord.
If your spinal cord becomes compressed, your doctor may recommend a laminectomy instead. This surgery involves removing a small section of spinal vertebra. This frees up more room for the spinal cord so that it is no longer under pressure.
Get Support With Sciatic Nerve Pain Treatment Today
As you can see, when it comes to sciatic nerve pain treatment you have plenty of options. An experienced doctor will be able to help you determine the best course of treatment for your condition. So what are you waiting for?
Make an appointment with our team of pain relief experts today. We’re here to help!