Sciatica is caused by the compression of one of the five spinal nerve roots of the sciatic nerves. Pain from this can be felt in the lower back, buttock, and patients can also feel numbness or weakness in the leg and foot.
Patients also sometimes complain of a pins and needles type tingling and difficulty moving. Usually this pain is on one side of the body. Treatment typically allows over 95% of patients to avoid the need for surgery. In most cases the pain is caused by a herniated disc in the lower back.
There are a number of medications used to reduce sciatica pain by Los Angeles Pain Management Doctors. They include anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. These medications all play a role in treating sciatica. The anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants give the body a chance to heal without any added inflammation to slow the process.
Physical therapy is recommended once the pain improves. A rehabilitation program can be designed around your specific needs by your Los Angeles pain doctor and a physical therapist. Rehabilitation helps prevent recurring injuries. The physical therapy includes exercise that helps improve posture and strengthen muscles.
Improving a patient’s flexibility has shown to dramatically decrease the recurrence of sciatica. Because the symptoms are from a compressed nerve, improving strength, posture, and flexibility all help realign the spine and keep the nerve free from becoming compressed again.
Home remedies include hot and cold packs. Cold packs can be used as soon as the pain starts. They help reduce the inflammation and can be placed on the pinched area for 20 minutes at a time throughout a day. Hot packs should be used two to three days later.
Alternating between cold and hot packs can also reduce pain and promote healing. Adding stretching helps relieve nerve compression. Slow stretching after applying hot and cold packs helps the area lengthen and decompress. Stretches should be held for 30 second or more.
Epidural steroid injections get medication right to the source of pain. As with any injury, the faster and more efficiently pain medication can get to the needed area, the fast an injury can heal. While oral medications can help minor incidences of sciatica, steroids sometimes need to be used to suppress inflammation.
The steroids wear off within a few weeks to months. Patients can only receive a limited number of injections (usually a series of 3 in 6 weeks), then it can be repeated every few months.
Surgery is another solution for those suffering from sciatica. Sciatica can normally be treated with medication and physical therapy and epidurals, especially if it is caught in time and hasn’t gone on for a long time. In the cases that sciatica causes more serious problems such as significant weakness, and/ or the pain gets progressively worse, that is when surgery may be needed.
For the best nonoperative treatment, let the California Pain Network help you. The Network connects those in pain with pain management Los Angeles trusts. Over 50 insurances are accepted at several clinics, including in and around the LA area.
Call (310) 626-1526 for more information and scheduling today!