How To Treat & Deal With Sciatica
Updated: Feb 25
Chronic back pain hinders your day to day activities and lifestyle. A main cause of chronic back pain is sciatica, with some experts saying approximately 40% of people will experience it at some point within their lifetime. So, what exactly is sciatica and how do you deal with it?
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the name given to the irritation of the sciatic nerve causing pain, ranging from mild to severe. Sciatica is usually caused by a compressed nerve in the lower spine.
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body meaning that pain is not limited to just the back. It runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the legs. The nerve controls several muscles in the lower legs, supplies sensation to the skin of the foot and the majority of the lower leg.
The main symptom of sciatica is a shooting pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve. You may also feel numbness in the leg along the nerve or a tingling sensation in the feet and toes.
How Do You Treat Sciatica?
Although sciatica can be painful, you do have a variety of non-invasive treatment options to alleviate your pain, and to help you return to your normal lifestyle. Below we will outline some of the options you have.
For acute sciatica you have a variety of self-care options to help you mitigate the pain.
Exercises such as walking or light stretching.
Hot or cold compression packs as needed.
While these options provide relief for acute pain, you may need further assistance in treatment for chronic sciatica.
Physical therapy can help you develop a stretching and exercise routine. Treatment will also help improve your posture by taking pressure off your sciatic nerve.
Sometimes limited bed rest will be necessary. A few days off your feet with a majority of time spent on a firm mattress or the floor can help let your body recover. After a few days it’s best to return to your normal activities.
Alternative therapies like yoga, massage, and acupuncture can also be used to help reduce pain.
In severe cases, where other treatments have proved to be ineffective, surgery may be discussed as an alternative to help you return to your desired lifestyle.
A lumbar laminectomy is the widening of the spinal cord in the lower back to reduce pressure on the nerves, helping to alleviate the sciatic nerve pain.
A discectomy is the partial or entire removal of a herniated disk, which is a main cause of sciatica.
In most cases, sciatica can be treated before this stage but in some cases, surgery may be required. If you are dealing with sciatica, contact our team today. We will create a custom treatment plan for you to help you get back on track.