Pain Relief Options for Sciatica

older man with back pain

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is nerve pain that can be easy to identify. Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down the back of each leg.

Sciatica typically begins with a herniated disk in your lower spine. When a disk wears down, the center can bulge from the outer ring. This herniated disk can then put pressure on the surrounding nerves, and when the nerve is the sciatic nerve, it can be quite painful.

Sciatica can first be treated at home. For many, the pain stops within a few days or weeks. If your at-home treatments do not give you relief or the pain is quite severe, contact your doctor or orthopedist.

Sciatica Relief Options

Some sciatica pain relief options include the following:


Exercises that stretch your legs can help you manage sciatica. You can reduce inflammation when you're moving, it is recommended to take short walks. If light exercise or short walks do not help relieve the pain, your doctor may recommend you work with a physical therapist.

A physical therapist will create a rehabilitation program for you. The program should be designed to help prevent future injuries including:

  • posture correcting exercises
  • muscle strengthening for your back
  • flexibility improvement workouts

Heat and Ice Therapy:

Heat and/or ice packs are drug-free ways to help relieve the leg pain associated with sciatica, especially at the outset of an episode:

  • Apply cold packs and heat packs, each for several minutes on your lower back, a few times a day.
  • Use cold packs first for a few days.
  • If you still need relief, then apply heat packs for a few days.

Alternative Medicine:

There are also other methods to help with sciatica pain:

Chiropractic: Spinal adjustments performed by trained chiropractors or osteopathic doctors provide improved spinal column alignment. Better alignment means addressing any underlying conditions that can lead to sciatic nerve pain.

Sciatica Surgical Options

Surgery may be necessary if you have a spinal condition that needs correction to relieve your sciatic back pain. Your orthopedist may recommend one of the following options depending on your particular condition:

  • Anterior cervical fusion: repairs degenerative changes in the spine
  • Lumbar discectomy fusion: an advanced procedure that takes out a damaged disc and fuses your spinal bones together to prevent friction and pain
  • Scoliosis surgery: performed to correct current and prevent future curvature of the spine due to scoliosis

For many people, sciatica usually gets better in a few days to a few weeks. Consult with your doctor regarding a physical therapy/exercise program to prevent or minimize any future sciatica episodes. If sciatica flare-ups worsen, and you need to correct an underlying condition to manage your sciatica, you may need to consider surgical options.

To learn more about sciatic nerve pain and pain relief options, make an appointment today at Specialty Orthopedics of Harrison, NY. Our practice offers the most innovative conservative and surgical treatments for a variety of issues, including sciatic nerve pain.

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