If you are suffering from sciatica pain, you are not alone. This is among the most common types of pain reported by patients. Close to 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point in life. Sciatica pain also takes the lead in cases of absenteeism. These are enough reasons to encourage you to seek help from pain medicine in McAllen, TX. At Rio Grande Pain Team, Dennis Slavin, MD, and his team are committed to breaking the chains of sciatica pain so that you can continue with life without pain.
Causes of Sciatica
Your ligaments tend to thicken with age, causing your spine to start narrowing from the inside. Tumors, herniated discs, and bone spurs can also cause spine narrowing. When nerves, including the sciatic nerve, get entrapped, this can cause a painful sensation.
Your spine’s vertebrae are protected against shock by discs that contain a gel-like fluid. When one of the discs suffers damage, it presses against the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain.
Ways to Reduce Your Sciatica Pain
Since sciatic pain results from nerve compression, the best way to deal with the problem is to avoid nerve compression in the first place. Below are five progressive treatment options to help deal with pain.
1. Hot and Cold Therapy
Ice reduces inflammation while heat relaxes your muscles. Alternate hot and cold packs for 20 minutes to obtain relief from pain. You can also exclusively place heat or cold packs on your back, depending on which gives more relief from pain.
2. Over-the-counter Medications
Because inflammation causes pain, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also provide relief against pain. These medicines also help reduce inflammation.
3. Physical Therapy and Stretching
Subject to the cause of your sciatica problem, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. Dennis Slavin, MD, will help you develop the right exercise regime including exercise, to help relieve your sciatic nerve of pressure. Consult your doctor before embarking on exercise since some activities can worsen your condition.
4. Epidural Steroid injections under X-ray Guidance
Your doctor can deal with inflammation and pain using corticosteroids. During treatment, Dennis Slavin, MD, directly injects the steroid in a location near the sciatic nerve on your back. The injections offer short-term pain relief so that you can focus on physical therapy. Your doctor does not recommend long term use of epidural steroid injections.
5. Minimally Invasive and Nonsurgical Procedures
Rarely will sciatica require surgical intervention, unless your bladder and bowel have been affected or are experiencing severe pain and weakness. Cases of herniated discs are hard to treat using conservative treatment methods. Dennis Slavin, MD, will diagnose the cause of your problem and discuss all the available treatment options to help you make an informed decision.
If lumbar spinal stenosis is the cause of your back problem, your doctor will use minimally invasive procedures including decompression or Vertiflex Interspinous spacers, to relieve pressure in the spine without electing for surgery.
Consult your doctor to learn which nonsurgical option can help improve your sciatica pain.