What Is the Treatment for Sciatica Leg Pain?

Treatment for sciatica, which refers to leg pain, tingling or numbness symptoms, include nonsurgical options, regular exercise and surgery, depending on the severity of the condition, according to Spine-Health. Heat, ice, pain medications and epidural steroid injections are several nonsurgical remedies.

Nonsurgical sciatica treatments can alleviate pain and neurological symptoms resulting from a compressed nerve root, states Spine-Health. Application of an ice or heat pack with a cloth for up to 20 minutes can relieve acute sciatic pain. A person should repeat the treatment every two hours. Over-the-counter drugs, oral steroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also help ease any inflammation that is causing pain. Doctors may prescribe an epidural steroid injection to treat severe pain.

Chiropractic manipulation is an alternative sciatica treatment that has been shown to relieve pain, says Spine-Health. Trained chiropractors and osteopathic physicians aim to improve the alignment of the spinal column to resolve certain underlying conditions associated with sciatic nerve pain. Acupuncture is an FDA-approved treatment for back pain, and it involves the use of very thin needles around the painful area. Massage therapy can also help relieve back pain by releasing endorphins and increasing blood circulation.

Most people experience sciatica pain relief within six to 12 weeks, notes Spine-Health. Doctors may recommend a physical therapy and exercise program after initial pain relief to prevent recurring pain.