Acute Sciatica Treatment
Treatment for sciatica usually includes rest, cold compresses and pain medications. Other treatments include stretching exercises and physical therapy. Treatment for severe sciatica may include injections of corticosteroid medication into the back and surgery.
Treatment options for sciatica include:
- Avoid activities that cause pain.
- Cold compresses:
- Apply for 20 minutes at a time, 2 to 3 times per day
- Warm compresses if you have no relief from cold compresses
- Rest your back:
- Avoid heavy lifting.
- Return to walking as soon as possible.
- After the pain resolves:
- Back stretching exercises
- Back range of motion exercises
- Back strengthening exercises.
- Physical therapy for sciatica
- Chiropractic care for sciatica
- Acetaminophen for pain control
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- Muscle relaxant medications:
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Carisoprodol (Soma)
- Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
- Chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte)
- Metaxalone (Skelaxin)
- Antidepressant medications:
- Tricyclic antidepressants may reduce the pain form sciatica
- Epidural corticosteroid injections for sciatica
- Injections into the spine at the level of a herniated disk.
- Surgery for sciatica
Acute Sciatica Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of sciatica.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having sciatica again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Acute Sciatica Specialist
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat sciatica:
Continue to Acute Sciatica Home Care
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- Spencer DL. The anatomical basis of sciatica secondary to herniated lumbar disc: a review. Neurol Res. 1999;21 Suppl 1:S33-6.