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Sciatica (cont.)

What Are Other Forms of Treatment for Sciatica?

  • Physical therapy is often prescribed for sciatica.
  • Someone may receive special instructions from a doctor on dealing with back pain. Some will recommend using heat, others cold. One may also get information with pictures of back exercises and stretches one is expected to start when the pain improves. (These patient education articles come from different sources and may have conflicting information.)
  • Current research articles recommend staying active, within limits imposed by one's pain. Try to stay at work if possible. If the pain forces someone to rest, do so, but avoid staying in bed just because of the back pain.
  • If there is no improvement after a week or 10 days, talk with a 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 them.
  • Epidural injections, which are injections of a steroid (commonly known as cortisone or prednisone) into the spine, are sometimes performed for persistent sciatica.
  • 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.
  • Studies have investigated the utility of spinal manipulation (chiropractic treatment), acupuncture, and lumbar traction in treating back pain and sciatica, and the results vary. So it is not clear if these treatments are helpful.
  • 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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2017

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