For most people, sciatica responds well to self-care measures. These may include use of hot packs or cold packs, stretching, exercise and use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Beyond the self-care measures you may have taken, your doctor may recommend the following:
If you have a herniated disk, physical therapy can play a vital role in your recovery. Once acute pain improves, your doctor or a physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help prevent recurrent injuries.
Rehabilitation typically includes exercises and stretches to help correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility. Your doctor will have you start physical therapy, exercise or both as early as possible. It's the cornerstone of your treatment program and it should become a part of your permanent routine at home.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication along with a muscle relaxant. Narcotics also may be prescribed for short-term pain relief. Tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs also can help ease chronic pain. They may help by blocking pain messages to the brain or by enhancing the production of endorphins, your body's natural painkillers.
In some cases, your doctor may inject a corticosteroid medication into the affected area. Corticosteroids mimic the effects of the hormones cortisone and hydrocortisone, which are made by the outer layer (cortex) of your adrenal glands. When prescribed in doses that exceed your natural levels, corticosteroids suppress inflammation around the irritated nerve, thereby helping to relieve pain.
Their usefulness in treating sciatica remains a matter of debate. Some research has found that corticosteroids can provide short-term symptom relief, but that these medications aren't a long-term solution. In addition, corticosteroids can have side effects, so the number of injections you can receive is limited - usually no more than three in one year.
This is usually reserved for times when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, bowel or bladder incontinence, or you have pain that gets progressively worse or doesn't improve with other therapies.
Surgical options include lumbar laminectomy and microdiskectomy. In lumbar laminectomy with diskectomy, surgeons remove a portion of a herniated disk that's pressing on a nerve. Ideally, most of the disk is left intact to preserve as much of the normal anatomy as possible. Sometimes a surgeon will perform this operation through a small incision while looking through a microscope (microdiskectomy).
Success rates of standard diskectomy and microdiskectomy are about equal, but you may have less pain and recover more quickly with microdiskectomy. Discuss which option might be best for you with your doctor, and carefully weigh the potential benefits of surgery against the risks.
Use This Simple 3 Step Formula To Eliminate Your back Pain
The first thing you need to do is identify the dysfunctions you have and the muscle imbalances that have created it. You can do this by performing a series of what we call "self assessments".
We have found that there are four primary dysfunctions that are either directly responsible for, or contribute to, nearly every single case of back pain or sciatica. And you will be able to easily identify them using the simple tests we teach you in this system.
Once you've identified your dysfunctions and imbalances, then it's time for step two.
You can't correct the problem if your pain is so severe you can't move. So in this step you'll implement various strategies to help reduce and manage your pain so you can focus on correcting the dysfunction(s) that are responsible for your pain.
Then you're on to step three, which is.
Remember, pain is just a warning signal from your body telling you that you need to fix a problem. So in this step you work on treating the cause, which is the dysfunctions and the muscle imbalances that created it and also implementing additional treatments and strategies that are specific to the condition you may have been diagnosed with.
Beginning any treatment plan without first identifying all of the muscle imbalances is a recipe for failure and frustration. And unfortunately, that's what typically happens in today's medical community.
Hopefully at this point you are saying to yourself, this makes so much sense.
We can help you learn the real secrets of getting long term pain relied. Just read our free Back Pain Relief Guide.
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