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Non Surgical Treatments of Sciatica

Sciatica is not a disease or a condition but a symptom of a disorder in the lower back causing spinal nerve compression.

The most common disorder that can cause sciatica is a lumbar herniated disc (slipped disk), bulge or bulging disc which cause a pinched nerve. This can happen from injury, sports injuries, a trauma to the spine and others. Other spinal disorders can also cause sciatica. Spine specialists can determine what is causing sciatica. Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan can be formulated to relieve sciatic nerve pain and related symptoms. Today, with the advancement of modern day technology, one can opt for a non surgical treatment of sciatica.

Symptoms of Sciatica

non surgical treatments of sciaticaSciatica can cause intensive pain, spasms along any part of the sciatic nerve pathway - from the buttocks to the toes. Symptoms may include a loss of reflexes, weakness and numbness besides severe pain. It makes everyday activities such as walking, sitting and standing difficult.

The sciatica nerve exits the pelvic area; the particular branch supplies the hip joint and the muscular branch serves the leg flexor muscles that enable movement. The sciatica nerve enables movement and feelings to the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot and toes.

The diagnosis of sciatica can be done by scheduling an appointment with your doctor or chiropractor.

Self Care help for Sciatic Patients

Patients with sciatica can be helped by self care efforts which includes,

  • 1. Being aware of and avoiding activities and bodily movements that trigger or aggravate sciatica. Vigorous movements can cause siatica to worsen or create damage to the delicate nerves and joint that is already suffering under consistent pressure, resulting in sciatica.
  • 2. Avoiding prolonged bed rest. Some activity is essential and better than none. A day or two of rest may be helpful but inactivity can make the symptom worse. So avoid the temptation to lay in bed doing nothing else for a week.
  • 3. Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are helpful to reduce inflammation and sciatic nerve pain.
  • 4. Acute or chronic nerve pain may require more aggressive types of non surgical treatment. The doctor may combine therapies for maximum back and leg pain relief.

Solutions for Sciatica

If the pain is severe the doctor may prescribe a more potent NSAID. Chronic sciatica may require a muscle relaxant or anti depressant medication. Certain anti-seizure and anti-depressant medications are effective in blocking pain messages sent to the brain. Some of these drugs enhance the body's production of natural pain killers - endorphins.

Steroid Injections

One non surgical treatment for sciatica is an epidural steroid injection may provide pain relief for several months or longer. Steroids reduce inflammation and can help ease back and leg pain.

Physical Therapy

Structured physical therapy and rehabilitation program include passive treatments and therapeutic exercises customized to meet the patient's individual needs to reduce pain, increase flexibility and build strength.

Various Forms of Passive Treatments

Passive treatments include ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) deep tissue massage and hot and cold therapies

Therapeutic exercise helps the patients increase flexibility, spinal range of motion and build a stronger body. This exercise enhances the production of endorphins that help to reduce pain and improve mood.

A structured physical therapy program educates the patients about proper posture and body mechanics and helps prevent spinal disorders and sciatica. There are many forms of non surgical treatment for sciatica available. Choose one that is right for you.

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