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Treating Sciatica

What Can I do for Sciatica?

Sciatica may be easily treated from the comfort of a patient’s home. At home treatment for sciatica include:

At Home Treatments for Sciatica
  • Ice and heat therapy – Alternating between heat and ice therapy may reduce pain caused by sciatica. Apply heat for 20 minutes, followed by ice for 20 minutes.
  • Massage – Gently message the area or areas that are painful. Massage helps increase blood flow, relaxes the surrounding muscles, and helps the body release pain-reducing hormones.
  • Stretching – Gently stretch the back to help reduce inflammation and pain caused by sciatica. Stretch only as far as is comfortable to prevent further injury.

What If I Need Additional Treatment for Sciatica?

While most patients with sciatica respond positively to non-surgical remedies, there are situations where surgery may be needed. If symptoms do not respond to non-surgical treatment, or become severe enough to interfere with daily life, surgery may be a viable option. Sciatica that includes bowel or bladder disfunction or neurological may also need to be treated with surgery. Houston Physicians’ Hospital offers the following surgical treatments for sciatica:

  • Lumbar laminectomy
  • Lumbar microdiscectomy

Your Houston Physicians’ Hospital physician will be able to recommend the surgical treatment that’s best for your sciatica. By removing whatever is placing pressure on your sciatic nerve, surgery may be able to effectively relieve your sciatic pain.

How Do I Recover from Sciatica?

Immediately following surgery, rest is recommended. Avoid driving, lifting, or bending forward for one month following surgery. You should also ensure that any wound form your surgery stays clean and covered in order to prevent infection. After a period of rest, physical activity is recommended. Perform gentle stretches recommended by a physical therapist and focus on exercises that strengthen the muscles in your back and abdomen. However, it is vital to keep in mind that you should not rush back into physical activity, as this could reinjure your back. OTC medications are often helpful to treat pain following surgery for sciatica, but if your pain persists, your Houston Physicians’ Hospital physician may prescribe a stronger pain reliever. Apply ice packs to the area of surgery to reduce any swelling. For the duration of your recovery, avoid strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, twisting the spine, or jogging.