Sciatica is usually diagnosed in a doctor’s office. If you suffer from leg or back pain which follows the path of the sciatic nerve, the doctor would carry out a number of physical tests. You may be asked to lift your leg one at a time. Stand on your heel or walk on tip toe. If you suffer from sciatica, these movements would cause a great deal of discomfort.
Normally a doctor might not carry out an x ray to diagnose sciatica. However, if the pain appears to be too severe, you might be asked to get one. This I usually done to overrule any other underlying conditions like a herniated disc etc.
Doctors might also suggest MRI’s or CT Scans. These are able to determine the actual origin of the pain and the doctor would be able to treat the pain better.
If all tests are clear then self-care and rest can drastically improve the pain. If not the following are some of the sciatica treatment options.
Sciatica treatment through medication
Some of the drugs which can be used to treat sciatica include, muscle relaxants, OTC pain killers, anti-inflammatory medicines and anti-seizure medications. All of these medications can help manage the pain. Though care must be taken to always take the prescribed dose and not to overdose to alleviate the pain quickly. Dependency on these medicines can cause further problems.
Once the pain starts to recede, the doctor would suggest sessions with a physio therapist. Your therapist would make you undergo a specially drafted program to help manage the pain and improve movement in the affected area. These exercises aim to
- Help strengthen the back muscles
- Improved circulation
- Correction of posture
- Better flexibility
Steroid injections for sciatica
Sometimes a doctor may recommend steroid injections I the affected area. The injection is given in the nerve root. It helps to reduce the pain immediately and also helps bring down the inflammation. However, the pain comes back once the effect of the steroid wears off. There is also a limit to the number of injections which can be taken, this is because too much of these can actually cause severe health problems in the long run.
When all of the above mentioned treatments are unable to bring the necessary relief, surgery is the last option. In certain cases where the compressed nerve causes a great deal of discomfort, the surgeon might have to remove the bone spur or the herniated portion of the disc pressing into the nerve.
However using the right self-care techniques can actually help heal the pain and manage it well. Using ice pack to compress the affected area can help numb the pain. The ice pack can be used throughout the day. Warm compresses can also bring immediate relief. It’s better to alternate between hot and cold packs. Also stretching exercise done on a daily basis can bring improvement as well. Using the right treatment method can help manage sciatica.
For more information on sciatica treatment, make sure you contact the professionals.