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Sciatica Pain Management

Sciatica Diagnosis

In diagnosing sciatica, a doctor will take your medical history and perform an exam of the back, hips, and legs in order to test for strength, flexibility, sensation, and reflexes.

Other tests may include:

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Sciatica Treatment

Often sciatica improves spontaneously so the treatment for sciatica focuses on improving symptoms by relieving pressure and inflammation. Typical sciatica treatments include:

  • Medical treatments. Drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, oral steroids, or epidural steroid injections help to relieve inflammation.
  • Epidural steroid injections. Steroids, with their strong anti-inflammatory effects, are delivered at the origin of the inflamed sciatic nerve roots.
  • Physical therapy. This treatment helps to prevent further episodes of sciatica.
  • Surgery. Surgery may be warranted if the sciatic nerve pain is severe and has not been relieved with conservative treatments.

Sciatica Outlook

Although sciatica can be very painful, it is rare for the disorder to cause permanent nerve damage. Most sciatica pain syndromes will usually get better within a few weeks.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on August 01, 2013

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