Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your pain doesn't improve with self-care measures, your doctor may suggest some of the following treatments.

Medications

The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica pain include:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Narcotics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure medications

Physical therapy

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.

Steroid injections

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.

Surgery

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

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