Forty percent.

According to Harvard Medical School, forty percent of individuals will experience sciatica at one point or another during their lives. Anyone with sciatica can attest to the intensity of the pain—a pain that begins in the lower back before making its way down through the hips, buttocks, and legs.

The team at IGEA Brain & Spine has extensive experience treating patients who suffer from this ailment. In many cases, there are common self-care practices that can be implemented to alleviate discomfort. If more specialized care is required, however, our talented team of physicians is here to help! Read on to learn more about effective ways to manage sciatica pain.

Self-Care Treatments for Sciatica Pain

As with many pains in the body, the first line of treatment involves the incorporation of a few self-care strategies. These activities are effective in reducing the pain and discomfort of sciatica, and most can be completed from the comfort of your home. Review some of the most popular self-care treatments for sciatica below.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture has proven to be a very effective form of treatment for many types of chronic pain, especially sciatica. In addition to encouraging blood flow and circulation, it also relaxes muscles in the surrounding area. Most individuals report that they receive relief immediately, but it takes multiple sessions to see a noticeable improvement.

Massage Therapy: Massage therapy is beneficial to individuals with sciatica for two reasons. First and foremost, it loosens tight lower back muscles, which helps prevent irritation. Additionally, massage therapy also encourages the release of pain-fighting endorphins. This, in turn, provides temporary relief from symptoms like throbbing pain in the foot or the burning sensation experienced in the leg.

Isometric Exercises: Sitting or standing too long is a trigger for the sciatic nerve, and commonly leads to flare-ups. That is why individuals with sciatica are encouraged to incorporate isometric exercises into their daily routine. A form of strength training, these exercises improve range of motion and prevent further injury by isolating the affected muscles and joints. The result is a strengthened lower back and reduced pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Inflammation is one of the biggest causes of sciatica pain and is the byproduct of certain lifestyle choices—being overweight, sitting for long periods of time, and cigarette smoking are just a few examples—that can be remedied. Changing these habits, in addition to following an anti-inflammatory diet, can be very effective in minimizing sciatica pain. Fruits, nuts, and leafy greens are a few foods that can be a central component of your diet.

When To Consult With A Doctor About Sciatica Pain Treatment

Although self-care strategies can be effective in mitigating the pain from sciatica, there are many instances when professional medical assistance is required. When that time comes, there are some treatment options a physician may recommend, such as:

  • Prescription Medications– Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and certain antidepressants may be prescribed to alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • Steroid Injections- Corticosteroids can be injected around the irritated nerve to relieve inflammation. The benefits of injections only last a few months, however, and the number of shots a patient can receive is limited due to the risk of serious side effects.
  • Physical Therapy- Patients may be referred to a physical therapist for techniques that help prevent future injury. A comprehensive physical therapy regimen is comprised of exercises to strengthen supporting muscles in the back, improve flexibility, and correct posture.
  • Surgery- When all other treatments fail, surgery may be recommended to provide pain relief or if the nerve impingement has resulted in a loss of bladder/bowel control or significant weakness.

Receive Quality Care For Sciatica Pain At IGEA Brain & Spine

Individuals suffering from sciatica are entitled to quality care. Anything less than that isn’t—and never should be—optional. This is the principle by which the team at IGEA Brain & Spine operates its practice, and it guides every interaction with patients and their families. With several conveniently located offices throughout the NY/NJ metropolitan region, you’re never far from high-quality, compassionate treatment options to manage your condition.

If you or a loved one is experiencing severe pain as a result of sciatica, contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in New Jersey or New York. Proper treatment of your condition isn’t—and never should be—optional, and at IGEA Brain & Spine, it never is.