Sciatica Pain Treatment in Woodstock
Many people experience sciatica pain in Woodstock. Unfortunately, many sciatica sufferers either don’t realize their pain is related to the sciatic nerve or they’re having difficulty finding a nearby pain doctor or chiropractic clinic experienced in managing sciatica.
Most patients with sciatica don’t want to go the invasive surgical route, so they’re willing to exhaust their alternative pain management options. If you’re suffering from sciatica, you should be careful with the doctors you trust and the pain management strategies you pursue.
Our good reputation is important to the chiropractic and pain management team at Optimum Health Rehab. That’s why we’re committed to giving you an honest assessment of your options and how effective they may or may not be for your sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a term for pain caused by the sciatic nerve, which begins in the back and runs through the hips, buttocks, and into the leg. Typically pain occurs along this route. You may also experience numbness, burning, or tingling as these symptoms are common with nerve pain. Some patients may also have weakness in one foot or difficulty with bladder or bowel control.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is essentially caused by a pinched nerve. Most commonly, the sciatic nerve becomes compressed either due to a herniated disc or a bony overgrowth of the spine putting pressure on the nerve. In some cases, it may be caused or exacerbated by a systemic illness that causes nerve damage, such as diabetes or neurological issues. Rarely it is caused by a tumor.
What Are the Risk Factors for Sciatica?
Anyone can develop sciatica, but here are some factors that make it more likely to occur:
- Advancing age. As you get older, you’re more likely to develop sciatica. This may be partly because of the next risk factor, and partly because herniated discs and spinal overgrowths become more common with age.
- Inactivity or sedentary lifestyle. Sitting often makes sciatica pain worse, and patients who spend a lot of time sitting – such as people who work at a desk all day – are at higher risk of experiencing this condition. Many people become less active as they age or develop other conditions that limit their range of motion, like arthritis, putting them at additional risk of sciatica. If this is the cause of your inactivity, our Optimum Health Rehab specialists can assist you both with your sciatica and with treatments for your other painful conditions. We can also recommend gentle exercises that will help you get moving without putting as much strain on your joints.
- Weight. If you are overweight or obese, there is more pressure on your spine, which can cause or worsen sciatica pain.
- Occupational hazards. Although a job that requires extended sitting can raise the risk of sciatica, so can a position where you do a lot of heavy lifting or twisting your back. For example, a delivery truck driver or someone who moves boxes in a warehouse might be at higher risk because of the increased strain on the back. If you have this kind of job, do your best to lift with your legs and ask for help from coworkers when needed.
- Diabetes. As noted above, diabetes can cause nerve damage throughout the body, and this includes the sciatic nerve. If you have diabetes, following your doctor’s recommendations and keeping your blood sugar at the targeted level can help reduce your risk of sciatica. For some patients, making changes to diet and exercise allows them to lower blood sugar, and may lessen sciatica pain as well.
How is Sciatica Typically Treated?
If you’ve already seen a doctor about your sciatica pain but have not felt the relief you need, you may already be familiar with some of these common treatment options:
- Anti-inflammatories. These may be over-the-counter, like aspirin or Advil, or they may be a stronger prescription medication. For some people, anti-inflammatories ease the pain, but not everyone is helped enough by them. Additionally, they can have problematic side effects for some patients, including increased bleeding and digestive issues.
- Corticosteroids. These powerful anti-inflammatories are usually given by injection into the sciatic nerve root. Many people report that they do feel relief fairly quickly after the injection, but the effects may only last a few weeks before the pain returns. It’s unsafe to keep getting these shots frequently due to the risk of side effects like bone thinning (especially in the back or hip near the injection site), infection, cartilage damage, or nerve damage. (Ironically, nerve damage is a possible side effect of this treatment for nerve damage.) Patients may also experience a spike in blood sugar, so these injections can be especially risky if you’re diabetic. Because these shots can only be given occasionally, many people remain in pain most of the time.
- Antidepressants. Although the most common use for these drugs is treating depression, they are also used for some types of chronic pain, including sciatica. However, antidepressants also come with a long list of potential side effects, including nausea, drowsiness, blurred vision, mood swings or changes, weight gain, and sexual side effects.
- Anti-seizure medications. Certain anticonvulsants like gabapentin and pregabalin have a soothing effect on nerve cells outside the brain, including those in the sciatic nerve. If you guessed that these medications also have challenging side effects, you guessed right. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and swelling in the legs.
- Opioids. If all else fails, doctors may prescribe opioids, but this is much less common in recent years due to the opioid crisis and an overall push to reduce the amount of these medications prescribed. In addition to side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, and nausea, opioids carry a risk of addiction. Also, because of the limits on prescribing these medications, many patients do not get adequate pain relief.
- Surgery. In some cases, your doctor may be able to operate and repair a herniated disc or remove a bony overgrowth. However, there are serious risks to any surgery on your back, including infection, nerve damage, or damage to the spinal cord itself. In a few cases, patients may find that surgery makes their pain worse instead of better. Rarely, they may suffer paralysis from a spinal surgery gone wrong. It’s unsurprising that many people want to avoid surgery if at all possible.
As you might imagine, the usual treatments for sciatica don’t offer enough relief for many sciatica sufferers. People often tell us that they are afraid to try strong medications or to go under the knife, and they want to explore all other options first. Fortunately, an experienced chiropractor can provide multiple alternative therapies that may help relieve your pain without side effects or serious risks.
What Is Sciatica Pain Therapy?
Many people recover from sciatica pain by using a combination of rest, over-the-counter medications, and non-invasive pain management strategies.
These non-surgical sciatica treatments might include physical therapy, stretches, special exercises recommended by your chiropractor or physical medicine doctor, hot and cold therapy, and rest. These are all non-invasive sciatica pain management solutions that can be done with a combination of DIY at-home care and visits to an Optimum Health Rehab office in Woodstock.
Chiropractors can use active relief techniques to alleviate sciatica pain. The chiropractor will use their hand to find tightness or trigger points in the piriformis and gluteus muscles and then apply pressure. Many patients experience significant sciatica relief after those types of adjustments, and some may only require a few of these soft-tissue treatments before their sciatica subsides.
If those physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, and chiropractic adjustments aren’t adequate, your Optimum Health Rehab doctor can still prescribe pain management injections. In some cases, we may use regenerative medicine to help speed up the healing process with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.
What to Keep in Mind When Looking for Sciatica Pain Management
Not every chiropractor is familiar with the best sciatica pain management strategies or is equipped to offer more than just chiropractic adjustments. Optimum Health Rehab has experience managing sciatica pain with a diverse array of potential pain management options.
If you want a more comprehensive approach to your pain relief, you should seek out a clinic that offers wide-ranging treatment options. We offer chiropractic care, pain management injection and physical medicine.
Visit One of Our Georgia Clinics for Sciatica Pain Management
Get Effective Sciatica Pain Management Solutions from Optimum Health Rehab
Optimum Health Rehab employs medical experts, chiropractors, physician assistants, and highly trained nurses with extensive experience in injury recovery and pain management. We have the diagnostic tools and know-how to diagnose your sciatica pain and develop pain management and rehabilitation solutions to help you beat it.