Treatments for sciatica nerve pain include rest and self-care, medications, physical therapy, and surgery, reports Mayo Clinic. A cold-pack on the affected area reduces inflammation and can provide initial relief. Heat packs release muscle tension but should not be used for two to three days following the onset of pain.
Self-care includes the consistent use of over-the-counter medication to reduce inflammation and control pain. Gentle stretching exercises for the lower back muscles relieves muscle tension and can release nerve root compression, states Mayo Clinic.
When self-care is not effective, doctors prescribe muscle relaxants to reduce muscle spasms and pain relievers to treat sciatica-related pain. When a herniated or ruptured disc causes symptoms, doctors may also inject steroid medications directly into the spine to reduce inflammation, according to WebMD. Physical therapy teaches low-back, conditioning and stretching exercises that strengthen and support the spine and improve flexibility. In chronic cases, doctors refer patients to pain management specialists.
Nerve compression can cause significant weakness and bowel or bladder incontinence. When this occurs or when pain doesn't resolve after six weeks of treatment, doctors refer a patient for surgery, reports Mayo Clinic. Surgeons address the root cause of the nerve compression, which may require the removal of bone spurs or a section of a herniated disc.