Cures for Sciatica
The sciatic nerve is a combined nerve that receives the spinal nerve roots from L4 to S3. These nerves combine to form the main nerve branch known as the sciatic nerve. From this point of combination, it runs through the leg and buttocks and travels as far as the foot. If the muscles and tissues around this nerve become compressed at any point, patients may experience the symptoms of sciatica. The nerve may become constricted by a number of factors, including degenerative changes to the spine where the nerves pass through the spine's openings, and by inflammation and swelling to the muscles and tissues outside of the spine. Treating sciatic injuries will involve identifying the source of the nerve entrapment, and treating it accordingly with the appropriate treatments. Here are the best cures for sciatica that doctors and scientists know of and use today.
Medication: when pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve, its ability to send messages to and from the spine become disrupted. We may experience pain, changes in sensation, loss of sensation, slower reflexes, and the loss of strength along the path of that nerve. Often, pressure is placed upon the sciatic nerve because of inflammation related to injury or inflammatory disease. If the inflammation can be reduced around the nerve, it may be restored to normal function.
The medications prescribed to reduce inflammation of the sciatic nerve are designed to serve one of these three functions:
- Inflammation-Reduction: Anti-inflammatory medications include NSAIDs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. None of the available NSAIDs stand out above the rest towards reducing inflammation associated with sciatic pain.
- Relax the Muscles: Muscle relaxants may be taken orally or through injection. Muscle relaxants don't specifically loosen tense muscles, but they have an overall relaxing effect on the central nervous system. This calming effect on the central nervous system relaxes the muscles; and they main provide pain relieving benefits for the patient's sciatic pain related to muscle tension . Muscle relaxants commonly used to treat sciatica include methocarbamol (Robaxin), carisoprodol (Soma), diazepam (Valium), and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril).
- Some of the medications designed to treat sciatica have the primary purpose of controlling pain levels. These medications include narcotic pain medications, and steroid injections. Narcotic pain medications are designed to treat pain only, and their pain relieving benefits will only last as long as the medications are in the patient's system - which is less than a day. Narcotics work by binding to the opioid receptors of the pain, which produces a euphoric feeling and the benefit of pain relief. Narcotic pain medications that may be used to treat sciatic pain include Oxycodone (e.g. Percocet, Oxycontin), Hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin), and Codeine (e.g. Tylenol #3).There are two types of injections that are commonly used to treat sciatic pain - Piriformis injection and Botox injection - that we will describe in more detail below.
Other Anti-inflammatories: While many of the medications above involve the requirement for a doctor prescription, other anti-inflammatory treatments involve cheap products that may be used in your home, while you rest on your bed, couch, or floor. After the onset of pain, you should lie in a comfortable position on your stomach and place an ice pack over the area that is hot or painful. You should leave this ice back on for 20 minutes at a time, and apply it as needed every 2-4 hours. Don't apply the ice directly to your skin. Between cold therapy treatments, you may apply heat or massage to the area to loosen the muscle fibers and increase circulation to the injured tissues that need the blood, oxygen, and other healing nutrients. Heat and massage therapy may also have the effect of flushing out inflammatory toxins that have built up and stagnated around the injured areas.
Piriformis Injections: For severe pain symptoms and cases of sciatica that won't go away with conservative treatments only, piriformis injections may help patients to get to the next stage of recovery. These medications are specific to providing pain relief (Piriformis injection) or for reducing the chronic tension of the muscle (botox injection).
Piriformis injection: These injections involve the same combinations of medications used in epidural steroid injections of the spine - a local anesthetic and corticosteroid. These medications may provide moderate to long term pain relief, and eliminate the muscle spasm.
Botox injection: This injection involves the delivery of botulinum toxin (Botox) directly into the Piriformis muscle. This toxic substance is a muscle weakening agent.
None of the treatments mentioned above are designed to be cures for sciatic. However, they are designed to provide enough pain relief and relaxation of the affected muscles to get you to the next level, which will include an exercise program designed prevent acute cases of sciatica in the future.