Sciatica Treatment Options

Sciatica is pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. It typically affects only one side of your body. It most commonly occurs when a herniated lumbar disk, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve.

Sciatica treatments can range from non-invasive self-care treatments and physical therapies to more invasive interventions such as medications, interventional pain management procedures and surgeries.

Self-care treatments

  • Rest: In some cases, resting for a day or two can help to reduce severe pain from sciatica. However, too much rest can cause your muscles to weaken, so this shouldn’t be the sole method of treatment.
  • Hot or cold packs: Applying a cold pack or heating pad to the painful area can help reduce inflammation and soothe your muscles.
  • Gentle exercises and stretching: This can help to strengthen the muscles that support your back and improve your flexibility.

Physical therapy

Your Dallas Neurological & Spine doctor will work with a physical therapist to design a rehabilitation program to relieve your pain and improve your function. This typically includes exercises to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and core, and improve your flexibility.

Over-the-counter medications

Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be effective for temporary relief.

Prescription medications

In more severe cases, doctors may prescribe stronger pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatories. In some cases, antidepressants or anti-seizure medications may be recommended because they can be effective in treating nerve pain.

Epidural Steroid Injections

Your doctor might recommend these injections if you have severe pain. These injections reduce inflammation around the affected nerves.

Alternative therapies

Some people find relief from complementary therapies like acupuncture, biofeedback, or spinal manipulation (chiropractic care).


Also called radiofrequency nerve ablation, a rhizotomy is another treatment option for sciatica, especially when the pain is caused by issues with the facet joints in the spine. The procedure involves using heat generated by radiofrequency energy to target specific nerves to temporarily turn off their ability to send pain signals. This procedure is for pain relief, and it does not treat the underlying cause of sciatica.


When the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when the pain gets worse or doesn’t improve with other therapies, surgery might be an option. The surgeon can remove the part of the disc or the bone spur that’s pressing on the nerve.

It’s important to talk with your Dallas Neurological & Spine doctor to understand which treatment options are the best for your individual situation. The most effective treatment for you will depend on the specifics of your sciatica and the overall state of your health. Our goal is to perform the least invasive, most effective procedures available tailored to your needs. We have offices in Plano, Frisco, and Dallas and offer virtual visits as well.

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