Help for Your Sciatica

A jolting pain running down your leg. This is often how sciatica starts. The condition affects nearly three million Americans every year and may become so bad you don’t want to get out of bed.

You don’t have to just accept the pain — you can do something about it. The Painless Center, located in Carlstadt and Tenafly, New Jersey, offers sciatica treatments no matter the degree of pain you’re experiencing. 

What it’s like

Most people dealing with sciatica will describe it with one overarching adjective — painful. Sciatica pain generally resides in your lower back and stems down your legs, hips, and buttocks. But what exactly causes it?

Sciatica’s name comes from the longest nerve in your body: the sciatic nerve. This nerve resides in your lower back, stretching through your hips and buttocks, and running down each of your legs. When an injury happens to the sciatic nerve, like a herniated disc or bone overgrowth, it can become painful and inflamed.

Symptoms of sciatica include:

Most of the time, sciatica only affects one side of the body. Though some people get sciatica suddenly, others develop it gradually.

Treatments

No one wants to live in pain. That’s why finding a treatment is optimal for improving your wellbeing. Here are some of the most effective treatments that have worked for our patients.

At-home care

Many kinds of sciatica are resolved with at-home remedies. Jason Chiu, MD often advises his patients to get some rest, usually in a position lying on their back. Although rest may improve your symptoms at first, prolonged bed rest should be avoided because it can worsen your symptoms.  

Cold and hot compresses can offer another way to help. When the pain begins, place an ice pack on the tender area for 20 minutes a few times a day. After two to three days, a hot compress may provide more relief.

Stretching your lower back can help soothe the pain of the sciatic nerve. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, and make sure to avoid movements that twist or jerk your body.

Medication

You can reach for over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen and NSAIDs to minimize pain. Examples of these include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. However, avoid using these medications long-term unless otherwise directed by Dr. Chiu.

If you experience no pain relief with OTC medications, Dr. Chiu may prescribe an anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxer.

Steroid injections

If you’ve tried at-home treatments with little to no pain relief, Dr. Chiu may suggest a steroid injection. Steroid injections are a nonsurgical treatment for sciatica and other kinds of back pain.

During your procedure, we’ll inject a steroid medication right into the epidural area by the spinal cord. Patients generally experience pain relief in three to five days that can last for up to one to two months.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care is an option for those experiencing debilitating sciatic pain. Massage applies pressure to deep tissues to relieve pain and release endorphins. Spinal adjustments can also be made to help a herniated disc heal and to help relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve.

Microdiscectomy

Surgery is generally seen as a last resort if less invasive treatment options do not help. A microdiscectomy may be a suitable option for those experiencing sciatica because of a lumbar disc herniation. 

In this treatment, a small part of your spinal disc is removed. Patients who undergo this treatment option generally experience significant pain relief immediately following surgery. 

Does your sciatica make it impossible to get out of bed? Let us find the right treatment option for you today. Contact us today to set up your sciatica consultation.

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