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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Sciatica Part 6: The 7 Most Common Sciatica Treatments, And What You Need To Know About Them

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 @ 04:28 PM


This is Part Six in our ongoing series about Sciatica. If you missed Part Five, click here!

Now that we have discussed the how and why of Sciatica, we need to discuss how to treat it. When someone suffering with Sciatic pain goes to see their family physician, the doctor will usually prescribe some sort of treatment or medication, or combination of the two. These most commonly fall into one of these categories:

  • Traditional physical therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Over-The-Counter medications
  • Prescription drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Spinal injections
  • Surgery


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The type of treatment and/or medication that the doctor prescribes usually depends on what the back injury is and how high the pain level is. However, these methods usually end up being only a temporary or stop-gap solution; often the pain comes back and may possibly be worse than before. We'll briefly discuss each one so that you know what they are for and why doctors prescribe them:

  1. Physical therapy is used to strengthen the muscles in your back, which may lessen your pain for a short while but is usually not all that effective in treating sciatica.
  2. Chiropractic therapy focuses on your joints, loosening them up a bit and allowing for greater mobility and range of motion. However, this is usually only temporary.
  3. Over-the-Counter medications are anything that you can buy from the pharmacy without a prescription, such as mild painkillers or NSAIDs. These are only really effective for very minor injuries and pain.
  4. Prescription medications are types like anti-inflammatory pills that are stronger than over-the-counter ones and are usually prescribed by the doctor when the pain has become worse and the OTC medications are not strong enough.Schedule A Free  Sciatica Consultation
  5. Narcotics are powerful pain medications prescribed by your doctor, such as oxycodone or tramadol. These are good for temporarily relieving the pain, but the side effects can be problematic, and it is easy to become addicted.
  6. Spinal injections are usually epidural shots directly into the spine near the area of injury. These are good for reducing inflammation in the damaged area, thus reducing the pain. These shots are usually given when the previous treatments and medications have failed to keep the pain reduced. They tend to work for a while, but then often stop being effective and the pain returns.
  7. Surgery is almost always the last option for doctors, for when none of the other treatments have helped. The most common is fusion surgery, where the vertebrae above and below the damaged disc are fused together so there is no longer any of the pressure on the disc that was causing the pain. This surgery can be somewhat risky, because it does fail sometimes and cause even more pain than before. Also, the fusion puts twice as much pressure on the discs above and below it, causing them to fail much faster. Because of this, people who have fusion surgery usually have to have more surgeries later.

Sciatica_2-1 Each of these treatments or drugs may work when first used, and provide temporary relief from the pain for a period of time. But eventually, they almost always stop working because they don't treat the cause of the sciatica. This is because these treatments are only temporary solutions; they only cover up the injury and mask the pain, so the cause of the Sciatica is still there and will eventually return.

Our treatment is effective because we treat the cause of the Sciatica: the discs. A prominent medical journal once stated:

"Sciatica is a common cause of pain and disability. It is more persistent and severe than low back pain, has a less favorable outcome and consumes more health resources."¹

Sciatica is extremely difficult to treat because none of the treatments traditionally used, like the ones mentioned above, do anything to treat the cause of the Sciatica. What makes our treatment different and better is that we specifically target the discs that cause the Sciatica, and we heal them.

In 2007, we participated in a major study that demonstrated that our treatment can eliminate the cause of Sciatica. For more on this, look for Part 7 of our series, coming soon!

The key to our treatment is solving the underlying cause. If you have Sciatica, and you are suffering, we can help you. Call today to schedule a Free Consultation at 844-265-2268, or click on this link to schedule online:

Schedule A Free  Sciatica Consultation

¹ Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 Oct 15. Sciatica: review of epidemiological studies and prevalence estimates.