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What is the treatment of sciatic nerve pain?

Some of the treatment options for sciatica include physical therapy, chiropractic care, TENS units, and ultrasound.

Sciatic nerve pain can be caused by several factors including a herniated disk or piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle (small, outer-hip muscle) becomes tight and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Some general exercises that may help sciatica include static stretching your hip flexors and piriformis and low-intensity strengthening exercises for your glutes (such as a floor bridge or ball bridge) and deep abdominal muscles (supine marching).

In most cases, sciatica will go away by itself with self-care practices like exercising, stretching, over-the-counter medications, and applying cold packs or heat. In some cases, your doctor may recommend other treatments, such as physical therapy or prescription medications. If your sciatica is still not responding to these treatments within three months, your doctor may recommend a more aggressive treatment. This may include corticosteroid injections, which help to reduce inflammation, or surgery. Surgery is usually left as a last resort when no other treatments are working or when serious complications have developed.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Are you suffering from sciatic nerve pain? Watch the video to find out from Dr. Oz how sciatic pain should be treated.

Brian Yee
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

Sciatic nerve pain typically starts from the lower back due to a herniated disc, degeneration in the spine, or poor muscle stability of the vertebrae that can cause compression to the nerve. The sciatic nerve can also be compressed by such muscles as the pirofrmis in the hip.

In Physical Therapy, there are manual therapy techniques, modalities such as traction, positions or exercises to relieve the pain, or specific techniques to improve nerve mobility that we call neurodynamics. A Physical Therapist will then provide specific home exercises for the patient to do to complement the treatment provided in the clinic.  Differential diagnosis of sciatic nerve pain from other sources of leg pain should also be considered. For example, muscle trigger points of the gluteus medius and minimius commonly refer pain down the leg that is similar to sciatic nerve symptoms.

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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.