The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It starts in the back of your pelvis and runs from your buttocks down the length of both legs and into your feet. When your sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated it can lead to pain and numbness. Many people also experience a tingling sensation that radiates from the lower back down one of the legs. While sciatica pain often goes away naturally after a few weeks, severe cases may last much longer and require medical care.
Causes of sciatica
If your doctor understands the root cause of your sciatica pain, he or she can help you get the sciatica pain treatment you need faster. Sciatica pain can be caused by chronic stress, spinal injuries, infections or abnormal growths (tumors) in the spinal cord, as well as these additional conditions:
- Slipped, prolapsed or herniated disc
A herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica pain. It occurs when one of the discs in the spine ruptures, the gel inside the disc leaks out and the disc begins to compress the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal stenosis
An abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts excess pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
A sideways curvature of the spine.
A spinal disorder in which a vertebrae (small bone of the spine), slips forward onto the bone below it.
- Cauda equina syndrome
A rare but serious condition caused by compressed or damaged nerves in the spinal cord.
Sciatica pain treatment options
There are many sciatica pain treatment options, many of which do not involve surgery. In fact, many people can effectively treat sciatica pain with over the counter pain relievers like Advil, Motrin IB or Aleve. Here are some additional sciatica pain treatment options:
- Chiropractic Adjustments
A spinal specialist will provide physical manipulation of your ligaments and muscles to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, restoring normal position and motion to the spinal bones.
- Physical therapy
A pain specialist develops a stretching and exercise routine that helps improve your posture and take pressure off the sciatic nerve.
- Lower back stretches
A simple stretch can help alleviate sciatica pain by loosening the muscles in your buttocks, which can become inflamed and compress the sciatic nerve. Simply lie on your back with your legs extended and flex your feet upward. Next, bend one leg at a time into your chest and clasp your hands around your knee.
- Limited bed rest
For more severe cases, your doctor may recommend staying off your feet for three days. It’s important to be on a firm mattress or on the floor.
- Heat and ice packs
Apply ice packs to your lower back for several minutes, several times a day for a few days and then switch to heat packs.
- Alternative therapies
Yoga, massage, biofeedback and acupuncture are additional, nonsurgical treatment options you may want to discuss with your doctor.
When other, nonsurgical, options have failed, your doctor may recommend minimally invasive surgery to treat the source of your sciatica pain.
For more information about safe, nonsurgical sciatica pain treatment options, call 936-647-3588. The pain specialists at Back Pain & Sciatica Treatment Center of Texas offer effective, proven therapies for sciatica, joint, spine and neuropathic pain.