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With early recognition and treatment, in many cases it is possible to reverse the symptoms of sciatica. The most successful treatment and prevention plans use a multipronged approach individualized to the underlying cause, the severity of symptoms, a person's medical history, general health and other factors.
The first step in treatment is prevention. This includes using good body mechanics when doing strenuous work or lifting to avoid lower back strain and other injury to the lower back. Treatment also includes and diagnosing and treating any possible underlying conditions that may produce compression, trauma or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, such as spinal tumor, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, and osteoarthritis.
Corticosteroid medications may be used to reduce the inflammation and pain of sciatica. These are generally given through direct injection into the spinal roots. Anti-inflammatory medications are also commonly recommended to control pain and inflammation of sciatica. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil). However, the use of NSAIDs can cause serious, even life threatening side effects and adverse events in some people and should only be used as recommended by a physician. Other medications may include muscle relaxers and antidepressants.
Treatment of sciatica may also include chiropractic therapies, such as spinal manipulation, electrical stimulation, and trigger point therapy. Alternative therapies that may prove beneficial for some people include yoga, acupuncture, and biofeedback.
Physical therapy and prescribed exercise may also be recommended for sciatica and underlying causes, such as degenerative disc disease and herniated disc. Physical therapy and exercises can help to strengthen the back, increase flexibility and movement, and reduce pain.
Surgery may be an option for people who do not get relief from other treatments or have serious symptoms, such as bowel incontinence, bladder incontinence, or serious leg weakness. Surgical options may include laminectomy or discectomy, which relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The following treatments are listed for Sciatica in our knowledge base:
Alternative treatments, home remedies, other other complementary therapies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Sciatica in various sources may include:
Review the treatment information pages for various causes of Sciatica:
More causes: not all possible causes for Sciatica are listed above; for a full list refer to causes of Sciatica.
Only your doctor can advise whether any of these treatments are appropriate for your specific medical situation. Always discuss all treatment options with your doctor before making a decision, including whether to start or discontinue any treatment plan.
The following list of conditions have 'Sciatica' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Sciatica or choose View All.
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