Sciatica happens when irritation, inflammation, pinching or compression affect one or more nerves that run down your lower back and into your legs. It’s usually not a serious or dangerous condition, and most people with sciatica get better on their own with time and self-care treatments. But severe cases may need surgery.
The pain may start slowly. It may get worse:
- After standing or sitting
- During certain times of the day, such as at night
- When sneezing, coughing, or laughing, especially if caused by a herniated disk
- When bending backward or walking more than a few yards or meters, especially if caused by spinal stenosis
- When straining or holding your breath, such as during a bowel movement
The treatment of back pain depends on the severity and underlying cause. Here are some common treatment options:
- Rest and self-care: For mild back pain, resting, applying ice or heat packs, and over-the-counter pain medications can provide relief.
- Physical therapy: Gentle exercises, stretches, and strengthening exercises can help alleviate back pain and prevent future episodes.
- Medications: Depending on the type and severity of the pain, a doctor may prescribe pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory medications.
- Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation and provide relief.
- Surgery: If conservative treatments fail to relieve the pain, surgery may be considered for certain conditions such as herniated discs or spinal abnormalities.
- Exercise to get muscles moving
- Improve posture
- Use heat and cold
- Apply a pain-relief cream
- Get enough sleep