Sciatica Treatment Options
(More Questions About Sciatica and Leg Pain)
By Dean Moyer
Author of Rebuild Your Back
In this article we're going to take a look at the various treatment options available for sciatica. I will attempt to help you understand just what you can do to eliminate the low back pain and leg pain associated with it.
Question: What is the best way to stop the pain of sciatica?
Answer: The best pain relief method for sciatica is to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Whenever we discuss pain relief - whether for sciatica or any other injury - it's important to distinguish between just relieving the pain and actually recovering from the injury. Most short-term pain relief is just that… short-term. If the underlying cause of the sciatica is not corrected the pain will inevitably return.
Anyone who suggests that there are many ways to treat sciatica is confusing temporary pain relief with actually correcting the problem. The only real solution for sciatica is to permanently relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve and that requires rebuilding the support structure of your back.
Question: Can you cure sciatica with a gadget or an herbal supplement?
Answer: Yes… and I also know of a bridge just outside Manhattan that's for sale.
But seriously, it is a simple truism that good health is the cure for any disease. Good health is a natural state of being that - when you boil it all down - simply means everything is working correctly.
Good health comes from within. You can't buy it in a pill. You can't get it from a gadget. And the surgeon can't install it on the operating table.
Sciatica is caused by a breakdown in the overall support structure of your lower back. The only way to reverse this condition is to physically rebuild that support structure.
Question: Doesn't sciatica mean I need to have surgery?
Answer: No, surgery should be considered only as a last resort.
Back surgery is most often performed because of herniated discs. However, we now know that there is little evidence that herniated discs cause sciatica and, therefore, there is even less reason to perform surgery.
However, sciatica is nothing to fool with and you should always see your doctor if you suspect that your symptoms are the result of a pinched nerve. Some signs of serious nerve damage include the inability to control your bowel or bladder, an increasing weakness in your legs or the loss of feeling or sensation in your legs or feet. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms seek immediate medical attention. For more on this read, Herniated Discs Don't Require Surgery.
Question: Can chiropractic manipulation correct sciatica?
Answer: No, chiropractic manipulation is not recommended for the treatment of sciatica.
Spinal manipulation either by a chiropractor or an osteopath may provide temporary relief from some symptoms of sciatica. However, the relief is often short-lived simply because spinal manipulation does not correct the underlying cause of the nerve impingement. In addition, many people have had their symptoms greatly aggravated by chiropractic adjustment.
Repetative chiropractic adjustments are now suspected of being a major cause of herniated discs and other degenerative spinal conditions. It is recommended that you avoid chiropractic treatment unless referred by your family physician. For more on this see, Don't I Need a Chiropractor?
Question: Are drugs an effective way to treat sciatica?
Answer: Medical research has shown that drugs provide little, if any, benefit in the treatment of sciatica.
More and more doctors are gradually becoming reluctant to prescribe medication for back or neck pain... including sciatica. The usual analgesics, antidepressants and muscle relaxants have simply failed to produce the desired results.
However, having said that, there are times when limited use of a doctor recommended medication may be useful.
Question: Are Cortisone injections an effective treatment for sciatica?
Answer: Yes, there is ample evidence that steroid injections can be very effective in treating sciatica symptoms.
At one time I was skeptical of the use of epidural steroid injections for the treatment of sciatica. There were several reasons for this not the least of which was a research study that appeared back in 2003 that seemed to cast steroids in a bad light.
It wasn't until years later that I would find myself revisiting the subject with fresh eyes and a bit more interest than before. This time I wanted to find out as much as I could about steroid injections and whether or not they could play a role in helping people rebuild their backs.To read more on what I discovered, see my article: Sciatica and Epidural Steroid Injections.
Mainstream therapy programs invariably fail because they are primarily focused on treating only your symptoms. This attempt to provide you with temporary pain relief may be useful in the short term, but it isn't going to solve the problem.
These "pain relief" programs inevitably fail because of their failure to address the real underlying cause of most back problems... a weak internal support structure.
Finding long-term relief from the low back pain and leg pain of sciatica can only be accomplished with an overall back rebuilding program.
Yours for a stronger back,
About the Author
Rebuild Your Back
Rebuild Your Neck
The Pain Relief Manual
Last updated: April 12, 2010