A trip to the Doctor's Office
Doctors approach sciatica treatment by performing physical and neurological examinations in order to determine the cause of sciatica. If needed, they may request more involved tests such as a MRI scan to further investigate the cause. Once diagnosed, an effect sciatica treatment can be implemented. This will usually involve the use of different types of drugs such as NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents), steroids and possibly opiate derived pain relievers. In rare cases, surgery may be suggested for sciatica treatment.
Chiropractic Sciatica Treatment
Chiropractors, through the use of manually induced spinal adjustments, can often help the symptoms of sciatica. The adjustments, usually quick and painless, can align the spine and reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve. A sciatica treatment usually begins with some type of heat therapy to loosen up the muscles surrounding the affected area. The chiropractor then performs the adjustments and ice packs may then be used to reduce inflammation. One treatment, however, is usually not enough to permanently adjust the spine so multiple adjustments are often recommended.
When muscle spasms cause sciatica, massage therapy can relieve some of the discomfort and pain. As with all remedies for sciatica, treatment will vary by the individual. Some require deep kneading movements to relax stiff muscles while others see the most improvement from vibrating movements. Massage also releases endorphins which aid in pain relief. Clients also benefit from increased circulation and oxygenation, improving the health of the spine. Massage also can relieve the stress brought on by episodes of sciatica, making it an excellent sciatica treatment.
How Physical Therapy Works
Physical therapists employ many different tools for sciatica treatment. Heat compresses often are used at the beginning of a session to loosen tight muscles before further treatment. Depending on the severity of the pain, the therapist may use traction which decompresses the spine or apply gentle electrical currents via electrodes to help alleviate pain. Therapists often can show a patient how to sit properly, rise to a standing position with minimal discomfort and find comfortable positions for sleeping, making daily life much more manageable. A person in physical therapy will learn stretching and strengthening exercises they can perform at home to minimize and prevent sciatica episodes.
Home remedies for sciatica usually involve the use of heat and ice to bring about relief from sciatica pain. A heating pad, hot water bottle or warm baths can benefit the sufferer by loosening up tight muscles and easing pain. Applying heat before doing gentle stretches or exercises can allow more range of motion, making the movements more effective. Ice can be applied afterwards to decrease inflammation and to help numb pain created by increased circulation.
Holistic Remedies for Sciatica
Various herbal remedies have been used by different cultures to reduce inflammation. Ginger and turmeric, two common spices, have been studied for years for their anti-inflammatory properties and found to be effective. Acupuncture, a Chinese based sciatica treatment involving needles to stimulate healing, has been known to relieve many types of pain. Acupressure, a related therapy using pressure from the hands, palms and elbows along the same meridians or acupuncture points, can be just as effective. Diet is becoming more popular in sciatica treatment. Several well known nutrition experts have written about anti-inflammatory diets and how they can affect conditions such as arthritis, sciatica and other inflammation caused illnesses.