If your pain doesn't improve with self-care measures, your doctor may suggest some of the following treatments.
The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica pain include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-seizure medications
Once your acute pain improves, your doctor or a physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help you prevent recurrent injuries. This typically includes exercises to help correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root. Corticosteroids help reduce pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve. The effects usually wear off in a few months. The number of steroid injections you can receive is limited because the risk of serious side effects increases when the injections occur too frequently.
This option is usually reserved for times when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, bowel or bladder incontinence or when you have pain that progressively worsens or doesn't improve with other therapies. Surgeons can remove the bone spur or the portion of the herniated disk that's pressing on the pinched nerve.
Sep. 19, 2012
- Bradley WG, et al. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-7506-7525-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Aug. 2, 2012.
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2012.
- Hsu PS, et al. Lumbosacral radiculopathy: Pathophysiology, clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 2, 2012.
- Levin K, et al. Acute lumbosacral radiculopathy: Prognosis and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 2, 2012.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Aug. 2, 2012.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Radiculopathy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2003.
- Knight CL, et al. Treatment of acute low back pain. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 9, 2012.
- Acupuncture for pain. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/acupuncture-for-pain.htm. Accessed Aug. 9, 2012.
- Shekelle P. Spinal manipulation in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 9, 2012.