15 Nov Everything You Need To Know About Sciatica And Its Treatment
Back pain is common and crippling. 80% of Americans will have acute back pain at some point in their life. However, for 10% of the population, back pain becomes chronic and relentless. Day in day out they suffer silently with back pain. For some of these individuals, the pain will be caused by sciatica. The pain may also shoot down their legs like a sharp electric shock. For these patients getting in contact with a specialist pain management clinic and getting an injection for sciatica can be a life-changing experience.
What is sciatica?
There are a whole host of nerves that supply the sensation to your legs. What this means is that these nerves transmit signals up to your brain suggesting that there is a soft touch stimulus, or a sharp painful stimulus (aka a pin stabbing your leg!). In sciatica one of these nerves that supply the back of the leg, the sciatic nerve is irritated and inflamed. This means the nerve starts shooting up pain signals to the brain even though there is no painful stimulus there! Ouch!
What treatment is available for sciatica?
Your family practitioner can help you to some degree but to best get on top of the problem you should get in contact with a specialist pain management clinic that can provide you with a whole host of treatment options to get on top of the pain. Some treatments may include:
- Regular stretching for your back. These exercises may be advised by a physiotherapist.
- The physio may also give you some back strengthening exercises which have been shown significantly reduce pain.
- Some specific painkiller like gabapentin and amitriptyline can help. These are not your typical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They work in a totally different way and block the nerves from shooting signals up to your brain. You may be familiar with amitriptyline as an antidepressant – however, it is incredibly useful in the treatment of sciatica as well. One of its effects is to make you drowsy, which for individuals struggling to get to sleep with the pain is incredibly helpful.
- Some specialist clinics can provide an injection for sciatica. Usually, the injection is a mix of local anesthetic (that stop the nerve shooting off pain signals) and steroids which in the long term should reduce the irritation and inflammation around the nerve. This should reduce the pain signals. These injections are often done by ultrasound guidance. This means the clinician doing the injection can know exactly where the injecting the material and ensure they get good coverage of the sciatic nerve.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from sciatica then get in contact with a specialist pain management clinic as soon as possible. These clinics can provide newer and more targeted therapies than your traditional family practitioner and can help you get on top of your pain faster. Don’t live in pain. Get on top of your sciatica today.