Got Sciatica? These Treatments May Helpby Beth Kassanoff, M.D.
Anatomy of a nerve
The sciatic nerve is formed by nerve roots that emerge from the lower spine, join together in the hip region, and run down the back of each thigh, branching out near the knee into smaller nerves that extend into the calves, ankles, feet, and toes.
Here's what you might experience: Searing or intermittent pain, numbness, or burning. You may also notice tingling that radiates from your lower back, hip, or buttocks to the back of your thigh and down the leg through the calf, and a feeling of weakness in the affected leg.
What to expect
Sciatica often goes away on its own, but symptoms may last more than six weeks. Here’s what you can do to help alleviate the pain.
What to try first
Apply a cold pack in the first 48 to 72 hours to the painful areas, then apply a heat pack.
Over-the-counter pain relief
If you have your doctor's approval to use these medications, try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain.
Try taking it easy the first few days but avoid bed rest.
Chronic pain strategies
If your pain doesn’t resolve, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, a corticosteroid injection (for severe pain), chiropractic treatment, a muscle relaxant, acupuncture, massage, or surgical removal of the disc if pain persists for more than a few months.