Sciatica is a common source of pain for many Americans. Stemming from pressure on the sciatic nerve that starts in the lower back, pain from sciatica ranges from mild to severe and is often felt in the hips, thighs, buttocks, or legs. Back surgery is rarely necessary for sciatica unless symptoms are severe. Discomfort can usually be managed with a combination of conservative treatments.
More than half of the 30 people evaluated in a study on acupuncture and sciatica reported “complete relief” of their symptoms. These results were seen when the needles were warmed (warming acupuncture). It’s believed acupuncture works by stimulating specific areas of the nervous system (neurohormonal pathways) to decrease pain sensations.
In another study, more than 60 percent of people with chronic pain who practiced a form of yoga that focuses on posture and breathing (Iyengar yoga) reported pain relief. Gentler forms of yoga like this may ease sciatica symptoms by stretching and strengthening nearby muscles.
3. Chiropractic Treatments
According to studies involving people with sciatica who had regular treatments, relief from chiropractic manipulations may last up to a year or more for some patients. Spinal adjustments may reduce inflammation and restore mobility.
4. Heat and Ice Applications
This often-recommended remedy may relieve surface inflammation enough to ease pain coming from the deeper sciatic nerve. Heat or ice should be applied no longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time to prevent skin irritation.
5. Medication and Injections
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants are the most common medications prescribed to treat sciatica. Amitriptyline is one of several antidepressants being studied for its possible effects on nerve-related pain. X-ray-guided epidural steroid injections (ESIs) work by reducing inflammation in the affected area. Relief may last for several months.
Sciatica symptoms vary depending on which of the five nerve root fibers that come together to form the sciatic nerve are affected. Receiving an accurate determination of the specific location of the pain source can make it easier to suggest treatment options that are more likely to be effective. At The Spine Institute Center, we specialize in a wide array of treatments designed to alleviate back and neck pain, including spinal fusion surgery and alternatives like Mobi-C disc replacement. Beverly Hills residents who need a solution for alleviating their pain should call The Spine Institute at 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person evaluation. We hope to hear from you soon.