Pinched Nerve Sciatica: Prognosis and Treatment

The sciatic nerve is the nerve branching from the lower back right through the hips and buttocks towards the lower part of the leg. When this nerve is pinched due to a bone spur or a herniated disk, it results in numbness, inflammation and pain extending down the affected leg and is consequently called sciatica.  The medical term is ‘lumbar radiculopathy’.

In most cases, sciatica can be resolved using conservative treatment. However sciatica pain may be severe in certain cases and not respond to other treatment where the condition is sustained for over a period of weeks of treatment surgery may be required to relieve compression of the nerve.

Sciatica (Pinched Nerve) Treatment

Treatment should be sought for sciatica pain when symptoms persist for several days, and may include one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medicines: A physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines, muscle relaxants, short acting narcotic medicines and for burning pain, anti-seizure medications such as gabapentin or Lyrica are particularly helpful.
  • Therapy: Physical therapy is generally prescribed; to  reduce muscular tightness, improve flexibility, correct posture and help prevent further injury.
  • Injections: Steroid injections (‘epidural injections’) may help suppress swelling around the nerve due to inflammation and thereby reduce pain.
  • Surgery: Surgery is the last resort which is again a rarely necessary. However, when pain progressively worsens despite physical therapy, or if there is weakness or loss of reflexes, surgery to relieve the nerve compression caused by a bone spur or herniated disk is usually very effective.

Are you suffering from pain due to a pinched nerve causing Sciatica? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with us.

About Doug Roberts MD

Board certified practicing rheumatologist and founder of PainSpot.com
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