Finding gentle but effective sciatica treatments may be difficult, but it is not impossible. There are treatments for sciatica that do not involve surgery. Physical therapy, deep tissue massage, stretches and other exercises can often bring pain relief.
in a comforting atmosphere"
The pain relief from these conservative treatments can be maximized in a comforting atmosphere with meditation, calming music and aromas that soothe the spirit.
There are many different possible causes of the nerve pain, and sciatica treatments will vary, depending on what is causing the sciatica, and how severe it is. Home sciatica treatments may include gentle stretches, rest, and anti-inflammatories. If these do not improve your symptoms, you may need to be seen by your doctor.
"can also include feelings of numbness, or weakness"
The symptoms of sciatica cover a wide range of sensations. Some people describe only a needles and pins feeling in the buttock and thigh. Others describe it as a deep ache, similar to a toothache. Sciatica can also include feelings of numbness, or weakness anywhere in the lower extremity.
If Your Symptoms are Mild
If you are only having mild pain, with no weakness or bowel/bladder dysfunction, you are probably safe with giving it time. Many times these symptoms will resolve with conservative treatment such as stretches and gentle exercises. These are even better when combined with general pain management techniques like meditation and aromatherapy in a relaxed environment.
"These are symptoms of cauda equina syndrome..."
But, if you are having severe pain, weakness in your legs, or problems with your bowel or bladder, you need to be seen and evaluated immediately.
These are symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, which may cause permanent injury or disability, if not treated immediately.
Depending on Your Symptoms
Your doctor may order x-rays, MRI, CT scan, or a CT myelogram to evaluate your symptoms. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, he may send you to the emergency room, or admit you directly to the hospital.
This will help to speed up your evaluation and sciatica treatment, while allowing your doctor to better control your pain and other symptoms.
"several options for sciatica treatment"
If your symptoms are being caused by a disc or other structures pressing on one or more of the spinal nerve roots your doctor will have several options for sciatica treatment, depending on his interpretation of the studies and the severity of your symptoms.
For instance, if he looks at your x-rays, and determines that you just have some swelling, or a minor disc bulge, causing pressure on a nerve. He may advise anti-inflammatories, massage, and physical therapy, possibly with a tapering course of oral steroids, such as prednisone.
"before beginning physical therapy"
However, if what he sees on the MRI is more impressive, such as a herniated lumbar disc impinging on a nerve, or mild spinal stenosis. He may order more aggressive treatment, such as, a series of epidural steroid injections and a period of limited activity, before beginning physical therapy to relieve your sciatica symptoms.
On the other hand, if his review of your CT Myelogram shows a large disc herniation, that he does not feel could be resolved with steroids, or severe lumbar spinal stenosis. He may feel that surgery will be necessary to remove the disc, or to remove the bone that is pressing on a nerve.
If the amount of bone that needs to be removed is substantial, he may become concerned that instability will develop following surgery. In which case, he may suggest a spinal fusion to prevent excessive or abnormal motion of those levels of the spine.
"Think about where you spend your time..."
If your nerve pain is being caused by direct pressure on the sciatic nerve, sciatica treatment should begin with removing the pressure. Think about where you spend your time, and does sitting make your symptoms worse?
Is there anything pressing on your buttock? This may also be pressing on the sciatic nerve. Pain relief may be as easy as removing a wallet or other object that is too big, from your rear pocket, or getting a better cushion to sit on.
If your nerve pain is from trauma or injury, such as a fall landing on your buttock, causing a contusion to the sciatic nerve, time may be the only real answer. However in some cases, a tapering dose of oral steroids may help to speed relief of your sciatic nerve pain.
"sciatica caused by piriformis syndrome"
When you are having piriformis sciatica, or sciatica caused by piriformis syndrome, the pain is being caused by pressure from the piriformis muscle, and treatment can be more complicated.
The piriformis muscle and its tendon run across the back of the buttock very close to the sciatic nerve. In some people the sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis muscle. Sometimes the sciatic nerve can become tethered to the piriformis muscle.
"caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve"
In all of these cases nerve pain is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from the piriformis muscle.
However, in many cases efforts to relieve that pressure are unsuccessful, or only have limited success.
Ant-inflammatories, physical therapy with stretches and other special exercises, and deep tissue massage are often the first course of action.
When several months of conservative sciatica treatments for piriformis syndrome fail to improve your sciatica symptoms, surgery may be considered.
The surgery is difficult and requires a great deal of technical skill, and here too success is often limited.
"If sciatica symptoms are being cause by infection..."
If sciatica symptoms are being cause by infection, treatment will depend on your doctors evaluation of the imaging studies. If the amount of infection is small, sometimes several weeks of IV antibiotics will provide a cure for sciatica.
However, if your doctor sees a large abscess on your MRI, a sciatica cure may require surgery to clean out the infection.
"pregnancy can cause sciatica in two ways"
Pregnancy is also among the more common causes of sciatica, and pregnancy can cause sciatica in two ways. In some cases, pregnancy causes sciatica by placing strain on the lumbar spine, which may lead to a bulging or herniated disc putting pressure on one of the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve. In other cases as the baby grows it may put direct pressure on the nerves as they pass through the pelvis.
In each case it is important that you discuss your symptoms with your obstetrician before beginning any treatment program. In many cases simple stretches can bring pain relief. Sometimes physical therapy is advised to learn stretches and other exercises to relieve the nerve pain. Special corsets and support belts can also be used to take some of the pressure off of the lumbar spine.
"holistic pain management techniques"
Treatments for sciatica will vary depending on the cause of the sciatica pain. Minor sciatica symptoms, such as mild pain and numbness, can often be treated at home with conservative therapies and watchful waiting.
Conservative treatment may begin with stretches, and simple exercises.
The benefits can be enhanced with more holistic pain management methods such as meditation, massage, and deep breathing techniques in a wholesome and supportive atmosphere.
More serious symptoms can often be treated very effectively. But, evaluation by a competent medical professional is important. Using labwork and appropriate imaging studies, they can provide an accurate diagnosis and guide appropriate treatment.