Back pain can be a discouraging, exhausting experience in itself. People dealing with sciatica have to cope with another level of back pain which has symptoms that arise in many other areas of their bodies. It can result in a person’s hips being misaligned, or his or her ribs being twisted in a painful way. The symptoms will vary depending on where the spine is curved, but in any case, they can be hard to manage. For many people, surgery seems to be the only option for managing the pain of sciatica, but there are many less invasive options for sciatica patients. Consulting with an experienced professional such as the Chiropractor Gaithersburg, MD locals trust is highly advised. If you are involved in an accident, speaking with a personal injury attorney is also recommended.
Using Heat and Ice
Much of the pain that results from sciatica comes from the pressure it places on a person’s legs. Acute sciatic pain can often be alleviated with the use of heat and ice. This is done by alternating between the application of hot and cold compresses in intervals as brief as fifteen minutes or as long as an hour. The contrast is helpful to reducing inflammation in the affected area. You should note that it is important to keep from damaging your skin with too much of either heat or ice.
Taking Pain Medicine
There are a few over-the-counter medications that you can use for managing your sciatica pain, which temporarily relieve not only the acute pain but also the inflammation you experience. That said, these medications may not be quite enough, in which case seeking a prescription from a doctor may be helpful. Sometimes medical professionals may recommend narcotics and muscle relaxants as a short-term solution for more intense sciatica pain.
Epidural Steroid Injections
When sciatica pain is severe, patients can opt to go through with epidural steroid injections. This is a procedure that helps reduce inflammation in a more direct way; the injection can send relief immediately to the sciatic nerve. It is very powerful and can last much longer than other treatment methods. But anyone considering an injection for sciatica should know the relief is of a temporary nature and presents potential side effects. About one week’s worth of relief is the norm for people who undergo this treatment.
In the earlier stages of sciatica, you might consider going to a chiropractor for the manual spine manipulation he or she can provide. This kind of treatment can usually help relieve your pain, but must be performed by an experienced professional so as you do not exacerbate the condition. As the chiropractor aligns your spine, there will be some alleviation of stress from the sciatic nerve.
There are many experts who think the practice of acupuncture could have started in China as early as 100 BC. This method of treatment adheres to the idea that your body’s health is reliant on its flow of energy through natural pathways. By inserting extremely thin needles in the body all around the affected area, acupuncture is said to help relieve pain and pressure on the nerves. You will be interested to note that the Food and Drug Administration has approved acupuncture as a treatment for back pain; the National Institute of Health has also said that it is effective for relieving the pain of sciatica.
Massage therapy is another one of the most helpful methods for relieving sciatica-related pain. Massage helps by loosening the muscles and keeping them from contracting around the affected area. You could consider massage therapy to be a type of muscle relaxant administered through pressure on the body.
Alternatives to surgery for sciatica are quite common, and can help you avoid the added pain and lost time of the necessary recovery period. These treatments can be extremely helpful for the quick relief you need to get you back on your feet and start living again free of back pain. If you are a victim of a personal injury, speak with an attorney who can assist you with options.
A special thanks to our authors at Pain and Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into Chiropractic Care.