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What are the best ways to treat sciatica?

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Quick Answer

Some of the best ways to treat sciatica include medications, surgery and physical therapy, according to WebMD. There are also some promising alternative therapies, such as biofeedback and acupuncture.

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Full Answer

There are a number of medications to treat sciatica, including over-the-counter options, muscle relaxers, antidepressants and prescription pain medications, claims WebMD. Useful over-the-counter medications include naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen; these either treat pain or address the swelling that causes pain. Some doctors also recommend steroid injections that go directly into the back around the spinal nerves. These work best when the individual has a herniated or ruptured disc.

Surgery is an option when there is no relief from the condition after six weeks of treatment, explains WebMD. The goal of the surgery is to address the cause of sciatica, such as a herniated disc. Physical therapy potentially relieves pain and discourages its return. Bed rest is not useful treatment for this condition. A physical therapist designs an exercise plan to work with the patient's condition, choosing exercises based on the sciatica's cause.

Alternative treatments for sciatica also work for some patients, states WebMD. Biofeedback teaches a patient to control some bodily processes consciously, including pain response. Professional acupuncture treatments relieve sciatica pain in some patients.

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