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What should I know about caring for someone with sciatica?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

If you are caring for someone with sciatica, reassure them that sciatica will often go away by itself within two to three months. You can apply cold packs to their affected areas for the first few days. After that, try applying heat. If their pain persists, you can alternate between the two. Encourage them to exercise lightly but to avoid activity that can strain their back. Over-the-counter medications like aspirin or acetaminophen may help provide symptom relief. If their pain is severe and seems to be getting worse rather than better, encourage them to see a doctor. Other signs of complications that should be checked out by a doctor include weakness or numbness in one of their legs and loss of control of bladder or bowel function. In unusual cases where surgery is needed, the person will need support following the procedure, especially as driving and other common activities will be limited.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.