What treatments are there for sciatica?
What treatments are there for sciatica? Sciatica is a painful and potentially debilitating condition. It occurs when pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve due to injury, illness, or congenital defects. In most cases, it is caused by a herniated disc that puts pressure on the nerve.
Symptoms of sciatica include pain radiating from the lower back to the legs, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. The type of pain experienced by people with sciatica can vary considerably, ranging from dull pain to sharp, electric-like painful surges.
Symptoms of sciatica can also get worse over time, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. To help you understand the options available, this guide introduces the most commonly used sciatica treatments.
Non-surgical treatments for sciatica
In most cases, non-surgical treatments are used before surgical options are considered. However, if a doctor is concerned about nerve damage or additional complications arise, surgery can be performed right away.
Doctors usually recommend a combination of non-surgical treatments, including medications, physical therapy, and complementary therapies, to start with.
Ideally, nonsurgical treatment options resolve acute sciatica within a month. However, chronic sciatica may take longer to resolve. The most commonly used non-surgical treatments include:
Physiotherapy involves a variety of physical movements and exercises. It is useful for treating sciatica as it strengthens the lower back, stretches tense muscles, increases core strength, promotes healing, and reduces inflammation.
Most sciatica physical therapy programs include a combination of stretching, aerobic conditioning, and resistance exercises. Some physical therapists may also use ultrasound, electrical stimulation, hot / cold therapy, and light therapy to aid healing.
Chiropractors can make manual adjustments that improve the alignment of the spine. This can help treat any underlying conditions that can cause sciatica, such as: B. a ruptured disc or a stenosis of the spine. There is also evidence that chiropractic care can relieve symptoms of sciatica and improve recovery time.
There are several over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs that can relieve the pain associated with sciatica. They include:
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
- Anticonvulsants used to reduce the frequency of muscle spasms
- Tricyclic antidepressants used to relieve nerve pain
- Oral steroids for pain and inflammation relief
- Opioid analgesics
Doctors sometimes use an injection of corticosteroid medication into an area near the sciatic nerve root. This will reduce inflammation in the area and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Steroid injections are used with caution as there are several possible side effects.
Massage therapy is an inexpensive, effective, and risk-free treatment option for sciatica. It relieves sciatica symptoms by:
- Promoting blood flow to the injured region of the back, increasing the body’s ability to heal and reducing inflammation
- Asking the body to release endorphins, natural chemicals with analgesic effects
- Relaxation of the tense back muscles
Selective nerve root block
This treatment involves an injection of medication that causes the spinal nerve to leave the intervertebral foramen. This drug reduces inflammation in the area and limits the pain that the sciatic nerve transmits to the brain. Multiple injections may be needed to relieve sciatic pain.
Epidural Steroids injection
An epidural steroid injection can be used to reduce inflammation near the sciatic nerve caused by a herniated disc or a degenerated disc. It also reduces the activity of the immune system in the area, which further limits inflammation.
Surgical treatments for sciatica
If nonsurgical treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend surgery. There are several surgeries that can help patients with sciatica, including:
Lumbar decompression surgery
These surgeries are designed to treat compressed nerves in the lumbar spine. They include:
The bony overgrowth around the neuroforamen is removed to make more space for the nerve root as it leaves the spine.
The surgeon removes part of the lamina to make room for spinal nerves. The lamina is the back part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal.
Degenerate facet joints are trimmed to relieve the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal fusion
Spinal fusion surgery involves completely removing herniated discs to relieve any pressure they put on nearby spinal nerves. The eddies surrounding the removed disks are then fused together.
- Interspinous distraction
This is a relatively new surgery that can help patients with sciatica, which is caused by a stenosis of the spine. The surgeon makes a small incision over the spine and places metal spacers between the vertebrae so they don’t press on the nerve below.
A microdiscectomy is a useful surgery for cases of sciatica caused by a herniated disc. The procedure involves removing the part of a herniated disc that is pressing on the sciatic nerve. The surgeon can also remove bone to give extra space to the sciatic nerve.
Dr. Tony Mork: “This is a minimally invasive procedure that requires a small incision. It is a very successful procedure in which up to 86% of patients experience pain relief after their microdiscectomy. “
As you can see, there are many treatment options for sciatica. If you think you have sciatica and need help, speak to your doctor. They can diagnose the severity of your sciatica and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
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