Sciatica is characterized by ongoing flare-ups of severe nerve pain, also known as sciatic pain. Often, the pain becomes unbearable. It is important to ensure timely treatment of sciatica to prevent the condition from worsening over time.
Although there is no sciatica cure, there are a number of nonsurgical methods are available for treating sciatica. Regular exercise also plays an effective role in reducing the pain involved with sciatica. If the pain persists even after trying different remedies, sciatica patients are advised to adopt a more structured approach to treatment, which may even include surgery.
Often the exact method that works for providing relief from sciatica varies from person to person. As such, it is important to identify a pain relief method by practicing a number of different approaches that are known to provide relief from sciatica pain.
The objective of nonsurgical sciatica treatments is to relieve the discomfort and pain caused by the compressed nerves. A combination of treatments is generally advised in addition to specific sciatica exercises.
- Ice and HeatHeat or ice packs may be used to treat sciatica pain. This is usually administered in the initial stages of sciatica that is characterized by acute pain.The heat or ice pack may be applied for 20 to 30 minutes. The therapy is repeated every couple of hours.
- MedicationThere are several over-the-counter as well as prescription drugs used to provide relief from sciatica. Oral steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been found to reduce the inflammation.
- Epidural Steroid InjectionsSevere sciatica pain can be treated by epidural steroid injection that is known to reduce the inflammation. The injection administers the steroid directly to the painful area around the compressed nerve.This method usually provides temporary relief from sciatic pain, and its effects may last for anywhere from a week to a year. However, the injection does not successfully treat the pain for everyone.
Alternative Treatment of Sciatica
There are a number of alternative treatments for sciatica that have been found to be effective for many patients. These include acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation.
- AcupunctureIt relies on the philosophy of achieving overall well-being by opening the flow of energy in the body. Thin needles are inserted into the skin around the painful area. The FDA recommends acupuncture as a back pain treatment. The National Institute of Health also advises the use of acupuncture for relieving sciatica pain.
- Chiropractic ManipulationPhysical therapists and chiropractors usually administer spinal adjustments with the aim of improving spinal column alignment, which in turn provides relief from underlying conditions, such as sciatica pain.
Surgical Treatment of Sciatica
Surgery is advised for patients suffering from chronic sciatica. It is suitable in cases in which other forms of treatment prove ineffective in providing relief. Also, if a clearly identifiable cause of sciatic pain, such as slipped disc exists, surgery may be advised to treat the root cause of the problem.
No matter what method of treating sciatica is used, it is important to have a qualified medical professional oversee the exact therapy or treatment method used.
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