ZocdocAnswersIs there any way to ease sciatic nerve pain?

Question

Is there any way to ease sciatic nerve pain?

My husband has a problem with his sciatic nerve which is causing him back pain. Are there any ways to help him ease the pain? I'm worried he will have a bad back for the rest of his life. The exercises the doctor gave him don't seem to help.

Answer

Sciatic nerve pain or sciatica is a common medical problem. Fortunately, there are many treatments for this that are often helpful in relieving the pain. I would recommend that you discuss this further with your husband's doctor. There are many treatments to explore if the first is not working. First, sciatic nerve pain occurs when the nerve gets "pinched" as it leaves the spinal column in the back on its way to the leg. This "pinching" occurs often because of arthritis or problems with the back (or more specifically the lower part of the spine). The goal of the therapy is to relieve the "pinching". The first way to do so is by physical therapy -- which works to organize the back into a more normal arrangement by strengthening the surrounding muscles. This often works. If this does not, there may be more invasive options. For example, one can try a steroid injection into the back which decreases the inflammation around the nerve. If the pain still continues, it is possible to have a surgeon perform a procedure to remove the compression of the nerve. Obviously injections and surgery have risks, so starting with the physical therapy is the common approach. Talk to your doctor for more information. If needed, he may refer your husband to an orthopedic surgeon. Good luck!

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