One of the most effective ways to get relief from sciatica is through a progressive, supervised program of physical exercise, according to Spine-Health. A typical regimen includes exercises to strengthen and stretch the core muscles of the abdomen and back as well as specific exercises that target the underlying cause of the pain. A doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor or other specialist designs a plan based on the patient's diagnosis and needs.
Lack of exercise weakens the muscles that support the spine, which can lead to back injuries, muscle strain and increased pain, notes Spine-Health. Additionally, regular, active exercise is essential to maintaining the health of the spinal discs and preventing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Low-impact aerobic exercise, especially walking, improves overall fitness, and good posture and proper body mechanics reduce excess stress on the back and spine.
Some people with sciatica benefit from medication, such as anti-inflammatory medicines, pain relievers, muscle relaxants and antidepressants, which work by decreasing pain perception in the brain, according to MedicineNet. In patients with persistent pain, evaluation by a pain specialist is an option, and surgery to reduce the compression of the lower spine may be necessary. Prolonged bed rest is not an effective treatment for sciatic nerve pain.