BPS 8: What are the Common Treatment Options for Sciatica Nerve Pain?

Sciatic nerve pain in most cases goes away over time. But if the pain does not subside with time, medical treatment should be sought.

For most people, simple non surgical methods and regular exercise are effective. A structure treatment option, including surgery, is necessary in case of persistent pain.

In this article, we will list treatment options – both non surgical and surgical – for sciatic pain.

Non surgical Treatment Plans

The aim of non surgical treatment options is to provide relief from sciatic pain. Various non surgical treatment options are available to treat the compressed sciatic nerve. Doctors may recommend one of the following non surgical methods for the condition.

Heat or ice Packs

Heat or ice packs can help in relief from acute sciatic pain. The packs can reduce the intensity of the leg pain. This method is particularly helpful during the initial stage. The ice is applied for about half an hour every two hours.

Most people find relief from using ice packs. But some find relief from heat packs. The two can also be applied in succession. It’s recommended to apply the ice pack with a towel or cloth placed between the skin and ice to avoid ice burn.

Pain Medications

Doctors may prescribe medications in case of acute sciatic nerve pain. Oral steroids and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen are effective. The medications can reduce the inflammation that provides relief from pain.

In addition, narcotics or muscle relaxants can be prescribed for up to two weeks to reduce pain. These medications are not prescribed for long term to avoid withdrawal issues.

Cognitive behavior therapy

Some doctors recommend cognitive behavior therapy for relief from sciatica pain. This involves changing or controlling behaviors to manage the pain.  It includes changing the standing or sitting posture while at home or at work. Also, it involves applying safe methods for lifting or loading heavy objects. The session can be online or face-to-face.

Surgical Treatment Plans

In case the non surgical treatment is not effective, surgical treatment may be required. The two common surgical treatment option for sciatic pain include the following

  • Microdiscectomy for Sciatica — The surgery is performed in case sciatic nerve pain is due to lumbar disc herniation. It is a small open surgery that is carried out using magnification. The portion of the herniated disc that is pinching is removed while keeping rest of the disc intact.
  • Lumbar Laminectomy — Another surgical option in case sciatic nerve pain is due to lumbar disc herniation is laminectomy. The surgery involves removal of the lamina that covers the spinal canal. This creates additional space that effectively treat the condition.

The above list of sciatica treatment options is by no means comprehensive. A lot of different treatment options are available to provide relief from sciatica pain. It’s advisable to take to a qualified back pain specialist for effective treatment of sciatica. Generally, non surgical treatment option is considered first. Surgical treatment should be sought only if the pain does not subside after six to twelve weeks of non surgical treatment plan.

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.