3 Types of Solutions for Sciatica Pain

3 Types of Solutions for Sciatica Pain

If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica, it means you have pain in your back resulting from too much pressure on your sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body. A herniated disc can cause sciatica, as can the sciatic nerve being compressed from bone spurs, spinal stenosis (narrowed spinal canal), or spondylolisthesis (one vertebra slipping over another).

Since your sciatic nerve travels from the lower part of your spine through your legs all the way to your feet, pain often runs down the leg. You may feel intense pain and/or numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in your leg.

Is there any good news associated with sciatica? Most people don’t need surgery, and the condition diminishes after about six weeks in at least 50% of sciatica cases. In the meantime, you need pain relief. Following are three types of solutions for sciatica pain.

Noninvasive treatments

Noninvasive treatments help heal many cases of sciatica and may also help prevent it.

Physical therapy, massage, and/or medication

Over-the-counter or prescription medication often helps relieve the brunt of sciatica pain. It’s the fastest course of action and a temporary stopgap measure.

Physical therapy helps many sciatica patients. The team at Cutting Edge Integrative Pain Centers provides physical therapy and instructs you how to do stretches and specific exercises every day at home. These directed activities help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve — the source of your pain. In addition, your team instructs you how to stand and sit with correct posture as well as how to lift items, which can help prevent another attack of sciatica.

Alternative treatments like therapeutic massage can be beneficial for sciatica pain as well. When helpful, the team at Cutting Edge provides this service. Keep in mind that only qualified medical professionals should perform massage on patients with a musculoskeletal condition.

Minimally invasive treatments

Several minimally invasive treatments relieve sciatica pain that doesn’t resolve with medication or physical therapy.

Epidural injection

Dr. Landrum can deliver an epidural injection in the space around your spinal cord to help relieve your sciatica pain. The injection contains the steroid cortisone, which reduces inflammation and relieves pressure on the nerve. Together with other noninvasive methods, the epidural may heal your sciatica so that you don’t need more extensive treatment.

Platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy

If platelet-rich plasma is likely to help your sciatica, Dr. Landrum takes a sample of your blood and separates the platelets from your red and white blood cells in a machine called a centrifuge. The platelets contain healing growth factors that rush to the compressed nerve to reduce inflammation and open your spinal canal.

Alternatively, Dr. Landrum may decide that stem cells from your own bone marrow may produce good results. Stem cells from your own body help rejuvenate and regenerate protective cartilage, which may have thinned to the point where your spinal vertebrae are touching without a buffer. These treatments have helped sciatica pain resulting from herniated discs.

Spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an FDA-approved treatment for pain in the lower back and limbs. A neurostimulator implanted under your skin produces a continual electrical current to your spinal cord to block the pain. The technology includes a system that you recharge at home.

Dr. Landrum can do a minimally invasive test first to help you determine if the technology is going to help you. If the test helps, Dr. Landrum performs a minor procedure to implant the  neurostimulator inside your body.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

Dr. Landrum frequently performs minimally invasive spine surgery to treat severe, chronic sciatica. He makes several very small incisions and uses a tiny video camera that sends pictures to his computer so he can see the area to be treated.

Interspinous spacers

An interspinous spacer is an implant inserted between the protruding bony areas on the back of your spine. The spacers help take pressure off of the sciatic nerve. Dr. Landrum implants spacers when you’re under sedation and local anesthesia; it’s an outpatient procedure.

Discectomy

A discectomy removes a painful herniated or degenerative disc that’s pressing on the sciatic nerve. If you have nerve damage — for example, numbness in your legs — Dr. Landrum may recommend a discectomy.

Joint fusion

Fusing the sacroiliac joint is an option if physical therapy and other treatments don’t work to relieve your pain. The procedure stabilizes the joint.

Call or book an appointment with Cutting Edge Integrative Pain Centers for the most advanced pain management treatment available today.

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