Are you looking for the best treatment for sciatica? Our pain specialists have reviewed the many options available, and discuss what you should try depending on the cause of your pain. Many people with chronic back pain are frightened that surgery is the only option, but a qualified physician can recommend several conservative and minimally invasive solutions that help you avoid surgery.
Sciatica is the medical term for inflammation and pain along the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from your lower back, down the back of each leg. The pain can differ in intensity and feeling, from deep shooting pain, numbness, to constant throbbing pain. There are many different reasons that this nerve could be causing pain, and impacting your day-to-day life. One of the causes of sciatica is a herniated disk in your lower back. Disks are what separate the vertebrae in your spine, and allow it to move and bend. But these disks can slip out of place (herniate), and push on the sciatic nerve, causing the pain that you feel. Another cause of sciatica can be muscle spasm or tension in the lower back, which also pushes on the sciatic nerve causing pain. There are many different types of treatments that can be helpful, depending on the cause of the problem.
There are many different types of over-the-counter medications that can be used to treat sciatica. These include anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or advil, which reduce swelling of muscles that may be pushing down on the nerve to cause pain. Although this method will reduce the feeling of pain that is caused by sciatica short-term, it might not affect the root cause of the compressed nerve. Taking pain relief medication might be helpful to reduce the pain you are feeling, but it might be necessary to explore further options to actually fix the cause of the issue.
If sciatica is caused by a spasming or swollen muscle in the lower back or bottom pushing down onto the sciatic nerve, a doctor can prescribe muscle relaxants to ease muscle tension and reduce pain. This medication is ideal for short term relief, but should not be used as a long-term solution, as it does not deal with the cause of the swollen or spasming muscles. For example, the muscle could be pushing on the nerve due to a sprain, or different lifestyle factors such as a lack of exercise, or pregnancy. Therefore muscle relaxants should be used in conjunction with another type of treatment, to ensure that the pain is managed, and the cause of the condition is also treated.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese method of healing. Needles are inserted into your body at specific points, to reduce the pressure on nerves and alleviate pain. Acupuncture has long been a treatment for sciatica, and is recommended two times a week, for as long as the pain persists. This method of treatment has been found to be safe for patients, and less invasive than surgery. However, the effects may not be immediate, and for people with excruciating pain that prevents them from living normally, this may not be ideal.
Physical therapy is the use of exercises to build strength and alleviate pain. This can be done in many different ways depending on each case, such as using massage therapy to loosen the muscles around the painful area, or doing specific exercises to target the muscles causing pressure on the sciatic nerve. A physical therapist can also advise you on exercises that you can do at home to prevent future cases of sciatica. However, depending on the cause of your sciatica, this treatment may not fix your pain alone, especially if the sciatica is not caused by muscular problems.
Steroid Injections can provide relief for sciatic pain that does not go away on its own. An epidural steroid injection, also known as a lumbar epidural, is an injection of anti-inflammatory medication and local anesthetic, to numb the affected area. Using steroid injections as a method of reducing sciatic pain has been used for decades successfully, and although it sounds scary, it is safe. You can remain awake is awake for the minimally-invasive procedure so you are aware of what is going on, and many patients experience pain relief after just one treatment.
Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression
Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression (MILD) is a treatment for sciatica that is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can push on nerves including the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain. The procedure involves making a very small incision to remove excess bone fragments that are causing the spinal canal to shrink and compress the sciatic nerve, creating adequate space for the nerves. This treatment stops the pain of sciatica, as well as targeting the cause of the problem.
Spinal Cord Stimulator
A spinal cord stimulator is a small electric device that is implanted into the spine. The purpose is to send small electrical pulses up the spinal cord, to interrupt the pain you are feeling from sciatica. This prevents the pain signals from registering in your brain, thus essentially cancelling the sciatic pain out. This is a permanent solution to many different types of pain, not just sciatica, however the device can also be removed if you are no longer suffering. This is a safe and incredibly small procedure, and most patients are free to go home on the same day as their surgery, or the next day.
What Type of Doctor should you see for Sciatica?
As there are many different causes of sciatica, it is important to find a treatment (or treatments) that work for you and your specific case. As a result of this, the best treatment for sciatica will be different for everyone. Many different remedies for sciatica may provide short-term relief from the pain, without fixing the underlying issue, or they may target a cause of sciatica that you are not suffering from. It is important that if you are suffering from this type of pain long-term, to see a specialised medical professional. They can accurately diagnose the cause of the issue, as well as suggest the best treatment for sciatica, according to your specific needs. Ultimately, this will involve treatment that you are comfortable with, and targets not just the pain you feel, but the cause of the issue as well.
Pain doctors are able to fix the pain that you feel caused by sciatica, while also fixing the cause of the problem. They can diagnose the source of your sciatica, provide pain relief, as well as minimally invasive surgery to prevent ongoing pain, where necessary. A good pain doctor, such as the ones working at Pain Treatment Specialists are trained to understand the different causes of back and nerve pain, and work to find the best solution for you. They operate from many different locations in both New York and New Jersey, so it is easy to find one that is convenient for you. They have a great team of Ivy-League trained, board-certified pain specialists that are dedicated to reducing the pain in their patients in a number of ways. Pain Treatment Specialists operate within the VIP Medical Group, who are frontrunners in the care of vein removal and pain treatment.
It takes less than a minute to book an appointment with these top class pain doctors in NY and NJ, and be on your way to a life free from sciatica pain, so why wait?