How do you relieve sciatic nerve pain?


Quick Answer

Sciatic nerve pain is treated using several approaches, including avoiding sitting as much as possible. Many patients find relief by alternating periods of lying down with brief walks. The length of the walk should increase as the pain allows. Patients sometimes find relief with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heating pads or cold packs, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

When self-care methods do not provide relief, Mayo Clinic recommends patients see their doctor. Doctors can prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. Doctors sometimes recommend physical therapy. If these measures do not bring relief, doctors use surgery as a last resort.

According to MedlinePlus, sciatica results from a pinched sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain often affects the lower back, buttocks and legs. Several conditions can lead to the pinch, including ruptured discs and narrowing of the tunnels through which the nerve passes, a condition doctors call spinal stenosis. Pelvic injuries and fractions are other potential causes of sciatica. In less common cases, sciatic pain is due to a tumor that is pressing on the sciatic nerve. Effective treatment of sciatica involves identifying the underlying cause and treating it. If the pain continues, doctors sometimes order diagnostic tests, including X-rays, blood work and imaging tests.

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