Sciatica is basically pain that radiates throughout the path of the sciatic nerve from the back down to the buttock and all the way to the foot. The nerve can be compressed in the back, buttock or any region as it radiates down the back part of the leg. The management of the underlying cause of sciatica is the only way to deal with this condition. In most circumstances, conservative treatments that minimize the symptoms include getting enough rest, application of ice or cold therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy.
One of the commonly used NSAIDs to manage sciatica is ibuprofen. It might be the first anti-inflammatory drug prescribed or given if another brand is not effective in managing the pain.
This medication is readily available over-the-counter or by prescription. It works by reducing the chemical signals that trigger inflammation and pain along the sciatic nerve. Just like with most NSAIDs, ibuprofen must not be given if the individual has heart, stomach, liver or kidney problems. Once the individual experiences stomach pain, chest pain, slurred speech, stiff neck, jaundice, dark urine or clay-colored stools, a doctor should be consulted right away.
This is a prescribed anti-inflammatory drug that is also commonly used to manage sciatica. Naproxen works by reducing the chemical signals that travel along the sciatic nerve that triggers inflammation and pain.
If this drug is prescribed, it should be used as directed in order to achieve the best results after a few days. Individuals who have stomach, heart, liver or kidney problems must not use this medication since it can lead to serious complications.
Always bear in mind that naproxen can detrimentally affect the digestive tract in some individuals. This occurs since NSAIDs reduce the chemical signals that shield the stomach lining from the stomach acid. As a result, stomach bleeding can occur which leads to pain, blood-streaked stools and vomit. An individual should also seek immediate treatment if he/she experiences dizziness, headaches, visual changes, skin rashes or heart issues.
Epidural steroid injections
In severe cases of sciatica, the doctor might recommend an epidural steroid injection. When this procedure is performed, it involves the injection of a corticosteroid which is a potent anti-inflammatory drug into the vertebra.
Corticosteroids can minimize the inflammation in the spinal vertebra for momentary relief from pain. Even though this treatment can be effective, the number of injections in a year is limited in order to avoid serious side effects. The potential risks of this procedure include excessive bleeding, infection and nerve damage.