If you have been experiencing severe lower back pain and finally receive a diagnosis of sciatica, you may feel some semblance of relief knowing what has been causing you so much trouble and pain. However, once you receive the diagnosis, the next step is to determine a course of treatment that will be most effective at relieving your pain and discomfort and letting you get back to your regular, daily life. Get to know some of the different treatment options available to you so that you can be sure that you are getting the best possible treatment to deal with your sciatica.
Because sciatica is a condition that involves a pinched or blocked nerve in the lower back, going to the chiropractor may be an effective solution to your problem. Chiropractic care revolves around the idea that the various bones in the spine can sometimes slip or move out of proper alignment with one another due to repeated activities, posture issues, injuries, and the like.
When the spine is not properly aligned, the nerves that run along it can become pinched (such as in sciatica). A chiropractor is trained to identify the areas of the spine that may be out of alignment and to use manual spinal manipulation techniques as well as stretches and other adjustments to move the spine back into alignment. This can relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve and thus resolve some or all of the pain that sciatica causes you.
Self-Care and Over-the-Counter Medications
Many physicians will recommend that you try to resolve your sciatica without medical interventions before proceeding to more invasive options. In addition to chiropractic care, this can involve resting, performing specific stretches for the back, and icing the area.
Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen can also be used to help reduce the inflammation around the sciatic nerve and to reduce your experience of pain. However, if your sciatica does not improve after a few weeks of self-care and chiropractic adjustments, you will likely need to return to your doctor to explore further options.
Epidural Steroid Injections
Medical management of sciatica often includes epidural steroid injections. Epidural steroid injections are administered in either your primary care physician's office or that of an orthopedic specialist. The anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are injected directly into the dura mater (epidural tissue and space) surrounding the spinal cord.
This gets the medication to the irritated area more efficiently than oral steroids and can provide swift relief for your sciatica discomfort. However, epidural steroid injections are not a permanent solution and may need to be repeated until your sciatica clears up through physical exercise and other means to relieve pressure from your sciatic nerve.
With these treatment options in mind, you can be sure that you are doing everything that you can to overcome and deal with your sciatica as quickly and efficiently as possible. For more information, contact a chiropractor like those at SpineCare Chiropractic Daniel S. Wright, D.C.