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How do I Choose the Best Treatment for Sciatic Leg Pain?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sciatic leg pain can be a difficult pain to cope with because it affects the movement in the legs and lower back, meaning such pain can keep a person from moving around normally in every day life. Usually starting in the buttocks, sciatic leg pain is a sharp, shooting pain that can run all the way down the back of the leg down to the ankles. It is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, which may in turn be caused by a bulging spinal disk or simply by tight muscles in the buttocks, legs, or lower back. Treating sciatic leg pain may involve something as simple as rest or something as complex as surgery.

Many doctors recommend physical therapy and stretching to alleviate sciatic leg pain, but such therapy must be done carefully, as stretching incorrectly may worsen the pain. Sciatic leg pain is often a symptom of another problem rather than a diagnosis itself, meaning the sufferer must identify the cause of the sciatic leg pain before embarking on a treatment plan. A doctor's visit is a good place to start. For less severe sciatic leg pain, rest may do the trick. Allowing the muscles to release and the sciatic nerve to relax may alleviate the pain temporarily or permanently, depending again upon what is causing the pain.

Regular stretching and core strength workouts can also help treat sciatic pain. By developing a strong group of core muscles, a sufferer can avoid many of the common situations that can cause sciatic pain, such as sitting for long periods of time, lack of lumbar support from core muscles, or repetitive movements that are unsupported by sufficiently strong muscles. One should consult a physical therapist or professional trainer to determine if a core workout is an option for treatment.

In more severe cases of sciatic pain, medication may be prescribed or surgery may be necessary. Muscle relaxants and painkillers are common medications used to help treat sciatic pain, as the muscle relaxants can help ease muscles that may be binding up on the sciatic nerve. If sciatic pain is keeping the sufferer from sleeping or from functioning in day to day life, painkillers may help alleviate the problem. Surgery that removes bone chips from spinal disks may also be a viable treatment for more severe cases, but this is a last resort option that may or may not alleviate the problem effectively. Consult a doctor to find out which treatment will work best.

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Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari , Former Writer
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By TruthRoller — On Feb 18, 2014
I always recommend trying a chiropractor for AIS (assisted isolated stretching) before anything as drastic as surgery. I suffered with horrible sciatica for about a year.

I saw a specialist who said the issues were L4 L5 and S1 and DDD (disc degenerative disease). How this could be at 32, I had no idea? I was prescribed months of physical therapy which I showed up to religiously with not much relief. Finally, after a chance meeting with a chiropractor at a social function, I had relief! He performed AIS on me right there on the spot, and I was pretty much cured! AIS uses massage and stretching to help coax things back into place. I mean, I guess this is kind of what my physical therapist was trying to do, but it didn't work. This chiropractic genius did in 10 minutes, on the floor at a party, what my PT hadn't been able to do in 6 months.

So I guess the moral of the story is to try the least invasive options first and most importantly, seek out people who are experts in their field. I guess every industry has people who are okay at what they do, and a few who are pretty horrible at what they do, and a few who are excellent at what they do. Find those excellent people.

Dan Cavallari

Dan Cavallari

Former Writer

Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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