Before knowing the different types of treatment available for sciatica, the basic facts about the disease should be known.The inflammation of the largest nerve of the body, sciatica nerve, is called sciatica. It causes sharp pain in the lower back that radiates behind the thighs and the pain reaches below the knees.
Sciatica, also called as sciatic is caused due to herniated disc, injury, infections, tumors, internal bleeding or irritation of sciatic nerves due to many other reasons.The cause of sciatica and the severity of pain differ from one person to another. The nature of sciatica treatment depends upon the severity of pain and the cause of the disease.
The first thing the patient suffering from sciatica wants is to get pain relief. Sciatic pain affects the day-to-day activities of the patient. If the pain is bearable and if the condition of the patient is not worse, the patient can be treated with nonsurgical procedures. The nonsurgical sciatica treatment options are listed below.
1. Applying ice and heat
In the initial stages, pain relief can be obtained by applying ice packs or heat packs on the inflamed region. Ice and heat pack must be alternately applied on the region. Ice pack must be applied for 20 minutes and then after a gap of two hours heat pack must be applied. A cycle of this must be followed.
2. Taking Rest
A prolonged bed rest is not advised by the doctors, but complete bed rest for two days will definitely help in reduction of pain and inflammation. Patient needs to lie down in a comfortable position with the knees resting on a pillow. It is better if the patient lies down on a flat bed.
Medications in sciatica treatment include both oral and topical medication. Topical medications like topical analgesics are applied topically on the tender area in which the patients feel the pain. The topical medications reduce the inflammation and increase the blood flow to provide pain relief.
Oral medications include pain medication to relieve pain, antidepressants to assist with sleep and steroids in cases of severe unbearable pain. Steroids may have side effects and they should be used only for a short period.
Medications for sciatica also include epidural cortisone injection directly to the inflamed area. This treatment is given for patients with acute pain, but this provides relief only for a short span and it is not a permanent relief.
After the patient gets some pain relief with hot and cold packs, oral and topical medications, the patient is advised to do some exercises to get long term relief. Some patients are advised to do physical activities like slow swimming and cycling. Exercises to attain pelvic balance are taught by the physical therapists.
Sciatica exercises must be done after a consultation with the doctor. Wrong movements may aggravate the inflammation and worsen the pain. The same thing applies for sciatica stretches too. Make sure you don’t feel any pain while exercising. Stop it as soon as you feel pain.
5. Keep changing positions
The tightened muscles must be relaxed and the weak muscles must be strengthened in order to treat sciatica. To relax the muscles you should not remain constant in the same position. Don’t remain sitting for a long time. Get up from your chair and move. You may feel more pain in the morning when you get up from your bed. Gently move and stretch your muscles.
Alternative Treatments For Sciatica
Sciatica treatment also includes alternative treatments that are listed below:
Yoga is a wonderful therapy for many diseases including psychological diseases. You have to learn yogic exercises to relieve sciatica from yoga therapists. There are a lot of yogic exercises or asanas that can treat sciatica. Make sure that you explain your medical condition in detail to the yoga master. If you practice these asanas daily you are sure to get relief,
Homeopathy treatment for sciatica has many positive reviews. Homeopathic treatment makes use of some herbs to treat the disease. Homeopathy treatment differs from one individual to another. The herbs needed for each patient are processed into little sweet balls that are to be taken in empty stomach. The plus point of homeopathy is that it has no side effects.
3. Acupuncture and Acupressure
Acupuncture is a type of treatment in which fine needles are inserted. You need not worry that the treatment is a painful process. It is a painless treatment that has been proved to be effective in treating patients with sciatica. It is a safe treatment without any side effects.
The treatment is effective both for chronic and acute cases. The treatment increases the flexibility of the tight muscles and improves the blood circulation. They both are very essential to treat sciatica.While acupuncture is a treatment with needles, acupressure is a treatment that involves pressure given by thumbs, fingers and palms on the exact points.
4. Chiropractic treatment
This is an alternative treatment that produces excellent results in treating sciatica. The spine is manipulated by the chiropractor. It is a drug free treatment and the spine is manipulated manually.
5. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is recognized as a successful alternative therapy for sciatica. Massage increases the endorphin levels and improves the range of motion. It not only reduces the pain, but also reduces the depression resulting from sciatica and helps the patient to sleep better.
Surgical Treatment for Sciatica
This is the final option for sciatica treatment. If the condition is worst and if it does not improve after treating with other therapies, the patient is advised to go for surgical treatment. There are many surgical procedures like discectomy, laminectomy, laminotomy, and microdiscectomy etc.
The postoperative care is very important. The patient should be extremely careful that he does not exert any pressure on his spine and should avoid lifting heavy objects. The recovery period is also long. There are many risk factors involved in surgeries. That is why surgeries are avoided and are done only if sciatica is not responding to other therapies.
The various Sciatica treatment options are discussed above. You should go for the right treatment after the right diagnosis made by the doctor. You should not go for any type of treatment without consulting your physician.