Sciatic Nerve pain refers to nerve pain that originates in the low back, or the lumbar region of the spine, and can cause pain to the hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, feet and toes. It can begin just as low back pain, with occasional sciatic flares to the legs, or it can just be leg pain without any back pain at all. The best way to start treating the symptoms is early management at home.
When you come into our office, there are many ways that we evaluate low back pain including beginning with a physical exam. In addition, x-rays are very important to look at arthritis, instability in the spine and fractures.
Sometimes, MRIs are needed to fully evaluate the spine, especially if conservative treatment isn’t working. We have both x-ray and MRI machines in our office. X-rays are easily able to be done during your appointment and with MRIs, we try to fit in you the same day of the MRI to go over the results with you.
Here are some ways we help you treat your sciatic nerve pain.
1) Home therapies
a) Treating your symptoms at home is the best way to start. Ice and heat to the affected area can reduce inflammation and help ease the muscle and soft tissue. Over-the-counter oral and topical anti-inflammatory medication can also help relieve mild symptoms.
2) Oral Medication
a) Sometimes, prescription medication is needed if the symptoms are severe enough. Prescription anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers, and nerve pain medication are examples of types of medications that are effective in treating sciatic nerve pain. During your visit, we will discuss which medications would be best for you at relieving the symptoms you’re experiencing.
3) Physical therapies/Home Exercises
a) Physical therapy and home exercises including those that are focused on your core can help alleviate symptoms and potentially help flares in the future. This can be used with or without oral prescription or over the counter medication. Physical therapy can also try different modalities including dry needling and soft tissue massage. We work with many physical therapy offices in Raleigh (and even in our same building) and the surrounding areas.
a) For more significant symptoms, injections directly into the spine can help alleviate pain. This is used both diagnostically and therapeutically to help us diagnose and treat your pain. We work with many pain management offices in Raleigh (and even in our same building) and surrounding areas to coordinate these injections.
a) In the most severe cases, surgery is used as a last resort for persistent or progressive symptoms. Dr. Idler and. Dr. Fleisher perform minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) which include cleanouts of arthritis and bulging discs, arthroplasty (joint replacement), stabilization of the spine with fusions including with hardware, and spinal cord stimulators.
Make an appointment with us today to help find the best treatment plan for you and your sciatic nerve pain.