It’s estimated that around 40% of people will experience sciatica at some point during their lifetime. If you have chronic lower back pain or disc degeneration or compression, you might be more susceptible to sciatica. For most people, sciatica is temporary and resolves quickly. If you end up with recurring sciatica, it might be time for a few lifestyle changes.
At Orthopedic & Wellness locations in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, Dr. Ojeydapo Ojeyemi and Dr. Matthew Roh can provide you with surgical and nonsurgical ways to combat sciatica pain, and help you discover ways to live a full and active life.
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower spine through the buttocks and down into the legs. Several different conditions can cause sciatic nerve pain:
- Compression in the spine that presses on the nerve
- A muscle cramp in the buttock that pinches the nerve
- A structural issue in the pelvis that compresses the nerve
Sciatic pain can be sharp and tingling, shooting down one leg or the other, and even causing numbness.
Treatment for sciatica
Sciatica can be treated in many different ways, depending on how severe your symptoms are, what is causing your symptoms, and whether or not the sciatica can be expected to resolve without significant intervention. Potential treatments include:
- Noninvasive: rest, over-the-counter medications, and lifestyle changes
- Minimally invasive: epidural steroid injections
- Surgical: decompression surgery to remove any small bone spurs that may be pressing on the nerve
If you need injections or surgery, your doctor can perform the procedure. If lifestyle changes can help control your sciatica pain, your doctor may recommend:
- Quitting smoking and managing your stress
- Losing weight if you are overweight and exercising for strength and flexibility
- Correcting your posture when you are standing or sitting
- Changing your chair if you sit a lot, and emptying your back pockets when sitting
- Choosing a stiffer mattress and sleeping with a body pillow between your knees
- Bending with your knees, not your back, and avoiding heavy lifting
- Ditching your high heels, or adding orthopedic inserts to your shoes
By making small changes in your life, you can help prevent sciatica flare-ups and control sciatica pain. If you still have frequent, severe pain, you have bladder control issues, or your toe drops when you pick up your foot, it could be signs of a more serious condition and you should see your doctor.
If you are ready to make changes in your life and get rid of sciatica pain, contact one of our three locations, or book an appointment online today.