What treatment methods are most effective for sciatica?
Sciatica is a common back problem suffered by millions of people around the world each year, the treatment methods used to treat the problem vary from successful home remedies, through drug treatments, and finally to surgical options. The problem of sciatica is caused when a bone spur or herniated disc place pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs along the spine. When sciatica occurs it can cause a variety of pain and uncomfortable symptoms, including pain in the lower back, weakness, and some numbness in the limbs on one side of the body.
For most people diagnosed with sciatica the problem is relieved using self care treatments within the first six weeks of the symptoms presenting themselves. In most cases, the pain caused by large amounts of pressure being placed on a trapped nerve can be effectively managed using over the counter pain medications. To relieve the pressure on the back ice packs are generally applied to the painful area for around 20 minutes at a time throughout the days when symptoms occur, after around three days heat packs can be alternated to help relieve the pain and inflammation found when sciatica returns.
A physician will begin the treatment for sciatica by managing any pain issues the patient has when they first ask for a diagnosis, after any serious pain has been treated the physician will then attempt to reduce the risk of further issues occurring. Physical therapy is usually prescribed, which can be a very effective treatment in correcting posture and strengthening back muscles to reduce the risk of further painful symptoms occurring.
For most people affected by sciatica the combination of simple home treatments and physical therapy combine to manage their symptoms and reduce the need for any further treatment. However, if the symptoms of sciatica remain and do not respond to treatment for more than six weeks further treatment options are usually considered by the patient and physician. One of the most successful treatments for long term sciatica issues is the use of a corticosteroid medication injected directly into the area of inflammation around the sciatic nerve root being compressed by the spine. This is a successful short term treatment providing relief from pain for a number of months, severe side effects make this treatment available for only a small number of uses.
In cases when relief cannot be obtained from the pain and uncomfortable symptoms of sciatica through the use of the already detailed treatments, surgical options may be considered. The success level of surgery is high, with the common practice being to remove the bone spur of herniated disc pressing on the nerve. Removal of the excess material relieves the pressure on the sciatic nerve and commonly eliminates the pain and numb feeling of the medical condition.