There is a variety of techniques that can be used for sciatica pain relief. Pain medications, both over-the-counter types and prescription, can often be used to alleviate the pain. Application of cold and heat may also help reduce it. Though some rest may be necessary when an injury first occurs, exercise is often the best course of action to relieve sciatica pain in both the short and long term. In extreme cases, sufferers may need to consider surgical options.
Painkillers are often one of the most effective ways to get sciatica pain relief. For some, drugs which are available over the counter, such as NSAIDs, aspirin, or acetaminophen, may be sufficient to control their pain. For others, where pain is more extreme or persistent, prescription-level medications are necessary. Some examples of drugs a doctor may prescribe are opioids, anitdepressants, or anticonvulsants. A corticosteroid injection near the spine may also provide relief.
Another tip for sciatica pain relief is to apply cold or heat to the affected area. Using an ice pack can help reduce inflammation and swelling, which can take pressure off the sciatic nerve. After several days of icing the area, controlled use of heat, either via a heating pad or a warm bath, can help restore blood flow to the area and relax muscles that have tensed up from the pain.
One of the best ways to get sciatica pain relief overall is through exercise and physical therapy. While patients may need a day or two of bed rest after initially injuring their backs, in general lying down does not help the pain and can even make it worse. Exercises designed to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles can help stabilize the spine, providing support and easing the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Stretching exercises can also help ease muscle tension in the area that can be causing pain. These techniques are particularly beneficial, as they not only help provide short-term pain relief but also can prevent future issues as well.
While many patients can find sciatica pain relief with the tips listed above, some may not. In these serious cases, surgery may be necessary to address the problem. Patients should consult carefully with their doctors if this appears to be the only course of action, as there are typically some risks and significant recovery time involved with these procedures.