6 Ways to Alleviate Sciatica Symptoms

If you have sciatica, chances are you're looking for relief from the frustrating symptoms that can interfere with your life. 

At Integrated Spine and Pain Services in Falls Church and Alexandria, Virginia, our providers help diagnose and manage the frustrating symptoms associated with sciatica.  

Sciatica is actually a term used to describe the symptoms of leg pain—and possibly tingling, numbness, or weakness—that start in your lower back and travel through your buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of your leg. 

In other words, sciatica isn't a medical diagnosis but a symptom of an underlying condition, such as a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis.

Sciatica can make sitting or standing for long periods difficult and uncomfortable, so if you're experiencing it, it's important to consider ways to find relief. Keep reading to discover six ways our providers can help ease your sciatica symptoms.

1. Activity modification

One of the initial steps in managing sciatica is through activity modification. This involves changing your activities to reduce pressure on your sciatic nerve. 

Your Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider talks to you about your normal activities and lifestyle choices to create a personalized set of recommendations for modifying your activities to get sciatica relief. 

In the meantime, here are a few tips:

Adjusting how you perform activities significantly affects your comfort levels, potentially reducing the frequency and severity of sciatica flare-ups.

2. Physical therapy

Physical therapy is one of the cornerstone treatments for sciatica. A physical therapist teaches you specific exercises designed to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine and stretch those that may contribute to your sciatic nerve compression. 

Here's what you can expect:

If your Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider refers you to physical therapy, it's important to fully engage in the program they design. This can significantly improve your spinal health and reduce the symptoms of sciatica. 

3. Stretching exercises

Your Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider talks to you about specific stretches that can help and may recommend the following:

These activities help reduce current symptoms and prevent future episodes of sciatica.

4. Transforaminal epidural steroid injections

When initial treatments aren’t enough to give you relief, your Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider may recommend transforaminal epidural steroid injections

This minimally invasive procedure involves injecting steroids directly into the area around the spinal nerves. Here’s how it helps:

This treatment is especially useful for patients who haven’t found relief through more conservative measures.

5. Selective nerve root blocks

Another advanced option for treating sciatica involves selective nerve root blocks. This procedure targets specific nerves causing pain by administering a steroid or anesthetic directly to the nerve root

If recommended by your Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider, this treatment helps:

Selective nerve root blocks offer significant pain relief and can be a part of a comprehensive management plan. 

6. Spinal cord stimulator trial

A spinal cord stimulator is a device designed to help manage chronic pain by using a mild electrical current that interferes with the nerve impulses that make you feel pain. It involves a small pulse generator implanted in your back, which sends electrical signals to your spinal cord.

These pulses prevent pain signals from being perceived by your brain. The result is that you get effective pain relief—without the need for drugs or other medications. Before implanting the permanent device, your provider tests how well it works with a trial. 

A spinal cord stimulator trial might be considered for chronic sciatica that doesn't respond to other treatments. This involves implanting a temporary device that sends electrical pulses directly to the spinal cord to reduce pain perception. 

Reclaim control over your life by scheduling an appointment for your sciatica symptoms with an Integrated Spine and Pain Services provider in Falls Church or Alexandria, Virginia.

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