Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Physical therapy is often prescribed for sciatica.
You may receive special instructions from your doctor on dealing with back pain. Some suggest complete bed rest
-- getting up only to go to the bathroom. Others suggest you sleep on the floor or put a board under your mattress for support. Some will tell you to use heat, others cold. You may also get
information with pictures of back exercises and stretches you are expected to start when the
pain improves. (These patient education sheets come from different sources and
may have conflicting information.)
Current research recommends that you stay active,
within limits imposed by your pain. If you can avoid reinjuring yourself, you
should try to stay at work. If the pain forces you to rest, do so, but avoid
staying in bed just because you have back pain.
If you are not improving after a week or 10 days, talk with your doctor about alternative therapies. Millions of people get some relief by visiting physical therapists, osteopaths, and chiropractors. Others find that relaxation techniques and acupuncture work for
Studies have shown that exercise therapy is helpful to treat back pain that persists for more than a few weeks. Good exercises for sciatica include walking, yoga,
Pilates, and other specialized exercise programs.
Recent studies in Europe and Scotland show that injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) gives relief to many people suffering from long-term sciatica. There are, thus far, not enough cases or completed studies to make this more than an experimental procedure.