What are the treatment options for sciatica pain?

There are various treatment options available to ease sciatica pain. These include over-the-counter (OTC) medications, creams, exercises, massage, and surgery.

Sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain, is a nonspecific term that describes a variety of leg or back symptoms. It may refer to a sharp or burning pain that radiates down the legs from the buttocks. Sciatica is not a diagnosis in itself but the result of an underlying condition.

This article will examine the evidence for some of the common treatments for sciatica.

Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, could help ease the pain of sciatica. These are available over the counter from drugstores.

However, it is worth noting that there is limited evidence to suggest that these medications work for sciatica. As with all drugs, they have some possible side effects. For example, drowsiness is a common side effect of some muscle relaxants.

If the pain does not get better, doctors might suggest injecting steroids into the spine. Steroid injections can help with the pain by reducing swelling. However, this only works for a short time, and some people find that it can make the pain worse.

Creams

Some, though not many, people find that creams can help ease sciatica pain. However, it is important to note that these creams are not curative and will only temporarily mask the pain.

In 2017, scientists carried out a review of creams to help relieve nerve pain such as sciatica. They found that there was not enough evidence to be sure that they worked.

Exercises

Staying active is also very important and can help ease the inflammation that can cause sciatica pain. People can try gentle exercises, such as walking and swimming, as much as the pain allows.

Typically, physiotherapists also recommend that people with sciatica try to do exercises that increase core strength, improve the mobility of the hips and spine, and maintain or improve flexibility in the lower body.

However, in rare cases, a physiotherapist may actually remove stretching from a person’s sciatica treatment program if they are hypermobile. This means that the person can move their joints beyond the typical range of movement.

It is also very important never to exercise or stretch to the point that it makes the sciatica pain worse.

Exercises that can help ease sciatica pain include:

Plank

To perform a plank:

  • Lie face down on the floor.
  • Keeping the whole trunk and legs in a straight line, lift up onto the forearms and toes, making sure to keep the elbows directly underneath the shoulders.
  • Hold for as long as possible.

Knee-to-chest stretch

To perform a knee-to-chest stretch:

  • Lie on the back with a small cushion under the head, the knees bent, and the feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.
  • Bend one knee up toward the chest and hold it with both hands.
  • Hold for 20–30 seconds.
  • Swap sides.
  • Repeat twice on each side.

Sciatic nerve mobilization

To perform a sciatic nerve mobilization:

  • Lie on the back with a small cushion under the head, the knees bent, and the feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.
  • Bend one knee toward the chest and hold the back of the knee with both hands.
  • Slowly straighten the leg up. Stop at the point of sciatic nerve pain. Going beyond this point could worsen the pain.
  • Hold for 5–10 seconds.
  • Swap sides.
  • Repeat 10–20 times on each side..….. Continue Reading…….

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