Some 40% of people experience sciatica at some point. If you’re one of them, pain relief is likely to be a very high priority — especially if you endure long-lasting or frequent flare-ups.
The condition occurs when a root that forms one of your sciatic nerves or a nerve fiber itself gets irritated or pinched. This can lead to pain in numerous areas of your body, including your lower back, buttocks, calves, feet, or legs.
Thankfully, numerous treatments can help. Medications are among these options.
Interventional pain specialist Dr. William Yancey at Yancey Pain & Spine in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas, takes an integrative approach to sciatica, drawing on a number of nonsurgical treatments, to minimize your pain.
Take a moment to learn about this condition, as well as the role medication may play in your care.
In some cases, sciatica symptoms diminish on their own within a few days. In other instances, the flare-ups come and go for weeks or months on end. When the latter happens, it’s time to seek treatment.
While each person experiences sciatica uniquely, your treatment options may include:
- Applying ice to the area for 15-20 minutes, several times a day
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Physical therapy, including exercises you can do at home
- Steroid injections
How medications help
A variety of medications can be used to treat sciatica, including anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, pain relievers, oral or injected steroids, and antidepressants. Over-the-counter medications, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can help by lowering inflammation in your body.
Steroid injections also lower inflammation for eased pain. While steroids don’t help everyone with sciatica, some people find that one epidural injection lasts for weeks, months, or even longer. Antidepressants may help by reducing the perception of pain in your brain.
For milder sciatica symptoms, Dr. Yancey typically recommends the more conservative treatment options, while also seeking the root of the problem so as to prevent additional problems in the future.
If they fail to sufficiently reduce your pain, he may suggest additional treatments. You might start out with ice therapy, rest, and occasional ibuprofen, for example, and only receive a steroid injection if your symptoms continue to linger or worsen.
Surgery is reserved for particularly severe or long-lasting sciatica pain. After your surgery, medications may be temporarily prescribed to minimize pain as you recover.
To learn more about sciatica or get the pain relief you need, call the Houston or The Woodlands, Texas, office of Yancey Pain & Spine or request an appointment with Dr. Yancey online. You can also send our team a message here on the website.