In this month’s first blog, we discussed sciatica, a condition where nerve roots in the lumbar spine become compressed, leading to pain that runs down through the buttocks and into the leg on one side. It’s estimated that up to 40 percent of Americans will experience sciatica at least once in their life.
In this second blog, let’s get into how Dr. Trujillo and our team at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates helps our patients get past the pain.
How is sciatica treated?
The majority of sciatica cases do not require surgery. Most cases respond to home care measures, such as the use of ice and hot packs, over-the-counter pain medications, walking, and light stretching exercises for the low back.
When these treatments don’t work, Dr. Trujillo will move to the next level of treatments. These include:
- Medications — Dr. Trujillo may prescribe these medications: anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants, and even anti-seizure medications.
- Physical therapy — When the initial phase of acute pain calms, Dr. Trujillo will usually have the patient follow a physical therapy regimen. The goal of these PT treatments is to help strengthen the muscles supporting the back, improve flexibility, and learn how to maintain correct posture.
- Steroid injections — Once the specific irritated sciatic nerve root has been identified, corticosteroid medication can be injected directly into the area around the site. These injections calm the irritation, and they can provide effective relief for months.
Surgery is rarely necessary for sciatica, but it may be necessary if the patient is having muscle weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when pain becomes chronic and unremitting. For these surgeries, patients are referred to neurosurgeons.
In some cases of stenosis, Dr. Trujillo may be able to use minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) methods to address spinal stenosis.
Dr. Trujillo works with our patients to prevent future bouts of sciatica. Exercise, proper posture, and good mechanics when lifting and working all play a role in keeping your sciatic nerve free from compression, and you free from sciatica.
Are you having pain in your buttocks, legs, or feet? Call us at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, (855) 768-4968, and let’s see how we can help.