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What is the best treatment for sciatica?

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Quick Answer

The best treatment for sciatica is usually applying hot or cold packs, stretching, and taking pain relievers, but severe sciatica may require stronger medications, physical therapy, steroid injections or surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Most people are able to treat sciatica at home.

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Full Answer

Applying a cold pack to the part of the body affected by sciatica for up to 20 minutes, multiple times per day may provide pain relief, recommends Mayo Clinic. Patients can apply heat packs to the painful area after two to three days. If pain persists, alternating between hot and cold packs may help. Lower back stretches can relieve sciatica, but it is important to avoid sudden movements that may aggravate the condition. Taking pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may alleviate sciatica pain.

If caring for sciatica at home is not effective, it may be necessary to seek medical help, notes Mayo Clinic. A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories, narcotics, anti-seizure medications or tricyclic antidepressants. Muscle relaxants may help treat sciatica as well. Once the pain has subsided, a doctor may recommend physical therapy to help prevent recurrence of the condition. If sciatica does not go away or becomes especially severe, a patient may undergo a surgical procedure that involves removing the part of the herniated disk or bone spur causing sciatica pain.

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