4 Ways to Manage a Sciatica Flare-up

4 Ways to Manage a Sciatica Flare-up

Sciatica is a painful condition that affects your lower spine and legs and can pop up anytime. Managing your pain is the key to relieving sciatica, but it's not always easy. Luckily, several tips and tricks help you quickly relieve discomfort and get on with your normal activities.

However, not everyone can eliminate sciatica alone, so Dr. Schachi Patel and the Delmarva Pain and Spine Center team provide various treatments for chronic pain.

Dr. Patel is an experienced anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, offering treatments like nerve blocks, steroid injections, and muscle relaxers for quick and efficient pain relief.

Signs of a sciatica flare-up

Sciatica is a painful condition when one of the nerves in the lower spine is compressed, causing pain and other symptoms in the back and legs. The sciatic nerve is large and has many branches of nerves that come off the main root, any of which can lead to sciatica symptoms.

Various conditions lead to sciatica, including an injury to the spine or chronic conditions like spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. Anything that causes something to compress or pinch the nerves can lead to sciatic symptoms.

Sciatica may come and go or be acute, where it happens suddenly and resolves itself. However, if you have chronic sciatica, you may go through flares, where the following symptoms get worse:

In rare cases, you may experience problems with your bowel and bladder control, which is a true emergency.

Some people can manage sciatica symptoms independently with home care and rest. Still, the symptoms may be severe enough to warrant professional care.

Four tips to manage sciatica

If you're dealing with a sciatica flare-up, you'll do anything for relief. The excellent news is that there are several ways you can successfully manage a sciatica flare on your own, and they include:

1. Get a massage

A massage is an excellent tool for easing sciatica, especially during a flare-up. A licensed massage therapist can pinpoint the areas of tension and pain to try to ease the muscles and provide immediate relief from an uncomfortable flare-up.

2. Try heat and ice

Only heat and ice may help during a sciatica flare. At the beginning of the flare, ice may be the best option to relieve inflammation and irritation in the nerves. Try putting an ice pack on your back for about 20 minutes several times daily.

Once the initial flare has calmed down, you can apply moist heat to your back to help relax the muscles and ease any remaining pain or discomfort. You can also try heat several times a day.

3. Practice stretching

Sitting on the couch and watching TV during a sciatica flare may seem tempting, but that's not always the best treatment. Although movement may seem complicated, getting up and stretching may be just what you need.

Perform stretches that gently relieve back tension and leg pain. Take your time, and don't overdo the stretches, as that may cause more harm than good.

4. Take anti-inflammatories

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are great for relief when you have sciatica. Nerve inflammation causes your symptoms, and these medications excel at treating it.

Anti-inflammatory medications target specific inflammation in the body, especially during a flare-up. They work to relieve inflammation quickly and allow you to move and manage your pain.

When should I seek professional care?

Home treatments are successful for some people with a sciatica flare, but not everyone. If your pain or symptoms persist past a week or you're unable to perform your everyday activities due to pain, it's time to seek expert care.

Dr. Patel specializes in pain management strategies for issues like sciatica. She carefully evaluates your needs to determine the best treatment route for pain. Some of the therapies she offers include:

Steroid injections

Steroid injections are potent treatments that provide immediate and long-term relief from sciatica. During the injection, Dr. Patel injects an anesthetic medication and a potent corticosteroid for anti-inflammatory relief.

Nerve blocks

Nerve blocks are used both for diagnostic purposes and to relieve nerve-related pain. The medications interrupt the pain signals to the brain, providing lasting relief from sciatica pain.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is a great tool that works well with other treatment methods. It helps you learn to exercise to reduce pain and stretch to keep your spine in good shape in case of recurrent flares.

If you're struggling to tame a sciatica flare, don't hesitate to call our office in Newark, Delaware, today at 302-355-0900 or request a consultation on the website. 


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