How Long Does Sciatica Last Is Sciatica A Permanent Disability
Sciatica Nerve pinched is treatable with physical therapy
The quick answer is that typically, Sciatica is a temporary issue. Most people are better in 4 to 8 weeks. In rare cases, it can lead to permanent disability, but there are usually other factors such as severe nerve injury, other health complications, obesity, and a lack of conditioning. Most of the time, Sciatica is treatable with physical therapy. Some severe cases require steroid injections in the spine. In rare cases, surgery may be required in the lumbar spine to relieve sciatic symptoms. Your actions can determine how long does sciatica last.
How Do I Get My Sciatic Nerve To Stop Hurting
Sciatic nerve pain can start in your back, or it can start in your buttocks and travel down your leg, depending on how irritated the sciatic nerve is. Here are some home remedies to relieve back pain and irritation of the sciatic nerve.
-Ice or heat – applied to the lower back, leg, or buttocks for 20-minute intervals throughout the day.
-Gentle stretching – focus on pain relief, not flexibility when stretching if it hurts, then back off.
-Postural awareness – Ensure your posture is good no matter where you are sitting, standing, or lying. Don’t slouch or arch your back. Use back support and a small footrest under your feet when sitting. Also, avoid staying in one position for too long.
-Gentle exercise – gentle is the keyword here, a slow walk outside or some gentle movements while sitting, standing, or lying down.
-Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication – Ibuprofen , Acetaminophen , Naproxen . Check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that these medicines are safe for you to take.
People tend to think more is better when it comes to pain relief, but less is definitely more when dealing with nerve pain. Nerves are very delicate and highly irritable and respond best when handled with much care.
Myth : Surgery Is The Only Way To Truly Remedy Sciatica
Most cases of sciatica resolve within about six weeks and do not need surgery, says Stephen Tolhurst, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Texas Back Institute in Flower Mound.
Other treatments, including physical therapy and epidural injections, can be useful. But if these treatments fail, or, in rare cases, where there is severe weakness, numbness, or pain, surgery can substantially and durably improve sciatic pain, Dr. Tolhurst says.
Don’t Miss: How To Slit Your Wrists Properly
How Long Does Sciatica Last
If you have ever suffered from sciatica pain, you probably remember being anxious and desperate for relief. Not only can sciatica pain flare up with or without physical activity, but it can also disrupt your sleep, make even routine daily activities nearly impossible, and appear virtually overnight. The knowledgeable team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, under the direction of expert provider Dr. Christopher Williams, is committed to helping patients achieve rapid, reliable, and long-lasting relief from sciatica pain through the most advanced techniques and tools available. If you are suffering from sciatica nerve pain, use this helpful information to understand what treatment options you have and how long you can expect your symptoms to last.
What Are The Common Triggers Of Sciatica Nerve Pain
There are several things that can trigger or aggravate your sciatica nerve pain. Things like flexing your lumbar spine, twisting, bending, or coughing can make your sciatic nerve feel like it’s screaming. While all the things on this list are hard to avoid, there are proper ways to bend, twist, and flex that will make your life with sciatica pain much easier. Things like bending with your knees instead of leaning over with your back when you lift will save your back.
Also Check: Lidoderm Patch Sciatica
Spinal Mass Or Cancer
mass in or near the spine may trap spinal nerves, causing sciatic pain.
Some masses are cancerous. In other cases, an epidural hematoma, which is a swollen blood spot near the spine, can cause the pain.
It is important that people with sciatica see a doctor to rule out potentially dangerous conditions such as cancer, especially when sciatica does not go away.
Final Thoughts On How Long It Will Take Sciatica To Heal
Now that you know your sciatic pain should reside within 4-8 weeks, you can rest assured youll be back to doing the things you love in no time.
In the meantime, take some anti-inflammatories and try to go about your business. If you notice any of the warning signs of nerve damage, schedule a doctors visit.
Recommended Reading: Ice Or Heat For Sciatic Pain
How To Manage Sciatic Pain
For many people, sciatica responds well to self-care. Rest for a couple of days after a flare-up begins, but dont wait too long before resuming activity. Long periods of inactivity will actually make your symptoms worse.
Applying hot or cold packs to your lower back may provide temporary relief. You can also try these six stretches to help relieve sciatic pain.
If your symptoms are severe and home remedies arent reducing your pain, or if your pain is getting worse, see your doctor. They might prescribe medications to relieve your symptoms, such as:
- antiseizure medications
- narcotics in severe cases
Your doctor may also suggest that you attend physical therapy after your symptoms improve. Physical therapy can help prevent future flare-ups by strengthening your core and back muscles.
You doctor might also suggest steroid injections. When injected into the area surrounding the affected nerve, steroids can reduce inflammation and pressure on the nerve. You can only receive a limited number of steroid injections, though, since theres a risk of severe side effects.
Surgery may be recommended as a last resort if your pain hasnt responded to other treatments. It may also be an option if your sciatica is causing loss of bowel or bladder control.
There are some things you can do to prevent future sciatica flare-ups:
What Happens When Sciatic Pain Doesn’t Go Away
When sciatic pain doesn’t go away, there is more than likely an underlying cause, and a visit to your physician is warranted. Sciatica pain is directly related to irritation of the sciatic nerve. As mentioned earlier, there can be a structural cause within the spine, but there can also be a systemic cause.
Some people have high levels of inflammation in their system, which can affect the entire body. This can be a result of diet, exposure to certain toxins, or an underlying disease process. Your doctor can perform a blood test to check your inflammation levels.
Some treatments that your physician might recommend include:
-Physical Therapy – a physical therapist will perform an evaluation and formulate a treatment plan of exercises and modalities to help reduce your symptoms. They will also teach you how to best manage your symptoms at home, including body mechanics training, posture training, nerve glides, and stretches.
-Epidural Steroid Injections – Your doctor may recommend epidural steroid injections if you have a bulging or herniated disc. These are usually performed under guided fluoroscopy, a live x-ray where the doctor can see the area that needs to be injected. A local anesthetic is used to minimize discomfort.
So if you are terrified of shots and an epidural steroid injection sounds absolutely terrible, fear not. They really aren’t that bad, and the reward will be well worth it.
Also Check: How To Slit Your Wrists To Die
Is A Hot Shower Good For Sciatica
While patients often say they’re successful in alleviating the pain from sciatica with a heating pad or hot shower, this isn’t the right approach. Why? You’re only temporarily relieving your pain symptoms because the heat causes fluid to build up, as well as more inflammation, that will eventually make pain worse.
How Is Sciatica Treated
Now, lets move to the most important part of the healing process for sciatica. Once you allow your body to rest for about two weeks, you can start to advance to the next healing phases.
This, however, is not the only treatment that you can utilize for sciatica. There are additional treatment options to consider. These treatments often focus on the symptoms people experience when they have sciatica.
Physical therapy is important for people with sciatica. The physical therapist introduces you to gentle exercises that you can perform at home. These exercises form part of the second phase in the healing process.
Some people find hot and cold treatment useful. This involves applying an ice pack or a heated pad to the areas that feel painful and swollen.
Acupuncture is a treatment shown to be helpful among people with sciatica. Another alternative treatment to consider is chiropractic care.
In cases where the pain is interfering with your life, consider taking medication for the symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help to reduce the inflammation caused by sciatica. This can also help to alleviate the pain you experience.
Some people find that a combination of these drugs and acetaminophen offers a more effective relief in their symptoms. It makes them confident to elaborate how I cured my sciatica in any sharing group.
Also Check: Piano Carpal Tunnel
Will It Come Back
Sciatica may recur, especially if the underlying cause isnt treated. For example, if you use improper lifting techniques and developed sciatica after herniating a disc, continuing to use that same lifting technique puts you at risk of injuring your back again.
A 2016 study found that in a group of 341 people seeking non-surgical care for a lower back herniated disc, 23 percent of people with leg pain experienced pain again within a year, and 51 percent experienced pain again within 3 years.
The researchers also found 28 percent of people with lower back pain experienced pain within a year, and 70 percent experienced pain within 3 years.
Making lifestyle changes like the following may help you prevent recurring sciatica symptoms:
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Minimize sitting, and sit with good posture.
- Avoid bending your back when lifting heavy objects.
- Choose exercises that are unlikely to cause lower back injuries.
- Avoid smoking.
- Minimize your chances of falling by wearing sturdy shoes and keeping the floors of your house free from clutter.
How Long Does Sciatica In Pregnancy Last
A 2008 review estimates between 50 and 80 percent of women experience lower back pain in pregnancy, but its highly unlikely to actually be sciatica.
Occasionally the position of your baby can add pressure to the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica. Depending on whether your babys position changes, the pain may last for the remainder of your pregnancy, come and go, or disappear. It should fully resolve after your baby is born.
Read Also: Cutting Wrists Vertically
Tips To Manage Sciatica Pain Naturally
For the most part, youll want to give your back a bit of rest when you first have a flare up. Laying down can be really beneficial. However, prolonged bed rest can be detrimental to your recovery.
We often say motion is lotion and that is true for sciatica as well. Once you give yourself a bit of time to recover, try and get back to walking around and going about your day. You should also consider trying out stretches and exercises for sciatica pain relief.
You can try NSAIDs, such as advil or ibuprofen, to help with any inflammation. If your pain is incredibly severe, you may consider something a bit stronger, such as muscle relaxers if your doctor prescribes them.
What Are Your Goals For This Surgery
Making a decision about sciatica surgery when you are in a lot of pain can be tough. Be sure to discuss with your surgeon the post-surgery goals, especially those around pain and activity. Are you expecting to go back to work and the gym in a week? Are you hoping the pain will be gone entirely and for good?
Although most people experience up to 90 percent improvement in their pain levels after a sciatica surgery, no doctor can guarantee this. Numbness may still be present after the surgery, and there is always a chance of sciatica coming back at another vertebra.
Depending on the type of sciatica surgery, most people are walking the next day, and full recovery typically takes two to four weeks. Minimally invasive surgery usually means faster recovery, but if the surgery involves more than one vertebra or disc, your back may take longer to heal.
Also Check: Reaction To Lidocaine
Is Walking Good For Sciatica
Unsurprisingly, walking is usually a good remedy for sciatica both acute and chronic! Walking is typically favorable for the lumbar disc, so the pain will be reduced by walking. However, some patients may have worsening pain with walking and should avoid it if it causes significant pain. Be sure to maintain excellent lumbar spine posture when walking!
Red Flag Signs
If you experience any of the following symptoms associated with sciatica, please seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY
- Bowel incontinence
Exercising At Home To Relieve Sciatica
A routine exercise program is beneficial in controlling acute sciatica pain as well as in preventing future flare-ups. Exercises can be learned from a physical therapist and continued at home.
Before beginning any exercise program, it is important to consult a licensed health professional to get a correct diagnosis for the cause of your sciatica. Exercises for sciatica from a herniated disc vary widely compared to those aimed at relieving the symptoms caused by spinal stenosis, and each type of exercise may worsen or further irritate your underlying cause if done incorrectly.
Don’t Miss: How To Cure Stomach Ache After Eating Pineapple
Does Sciatica Go Away Gradually
Sciatica can be caused by herniations, muscle tension, arthritis, or different types of disc disease. so the answer really depends on what it is that has befallen you! If you have any other symptoms along with pain in your buttocks and leg muscles then I would recommend seeing a physician just for peace of mind.
For instance if there seems to also be tingling-numbness-burning sensations running down the back of your thigh then see about neuropathy or compression irritation problems with nerves that are pretty serious conditions requiring specialized treatment should they arise.
When it comes to a question like does sciatica go away gradually it is important to consider the healing process. It is possible to have an acute sciatica pain flare up, which will typically have a slow healing time of 4-6 weeks. This type of Sciatica usually has an injury that needs fixing before the pain can heal.
Sciatica is not a condition that goes away overnight. It takes a while to heal. With this in mind, you need to have enough patience during the process. When you push your body too early, you are risking worsening sciatica. In most cases, you should start to feel better once you are done with phase one of the recovery process. At this stage, your body is well-rested, and the recovery process started.
Many people only need about one to two weeks before they can start participating in low-impact activities. This, however, does not mean the recovery process is complete.
Have You Tried Everything
If this sounds like you, youve probably already tried putting ice or heat on your back or leg. Maybe you tried a bit of massage which loosened it up for a bit, but then it came back?
If you have tried these things and they didnt work, the positive side is at least you are closer to finding something that DOES work, since you have ruled out some of the things that dont help.
Below are some of the top reasons sciatica lasts way longer than it should:
You May Like: Lidocaine Patch For Headache
How To Care For Your Sciatica
Sciatica is an often-painful condition that can disrupt your daily routine. Thankfully, it often does respond well to self-care. Anti-inflammatory medications, like aspirin and ibuprofen, can effectively reduce the painful swelling associated with sciatica. Alternating hot and cold packs can also provide temporary relief.
While it may seem counterintuitive, sciatica responds best to some activity. So, dont spend too much time in bed resting. Instead, try to exercise regularly to maintain strength in your back. And do your best to maintain good posture and avoid bending over or squatting to pick up heavy objects.
Additionally, physical therapy and chiropractic care can help you deal with sciatica. Thats because it can teach you the core and back strengthening techniques that will help prevent future flareups. In many cases, physical therapy and other treatment options like chiropractic care are covered by your insurance.
How Do You Know If It Is Sciatica
The key to diagnosing sciatica is a thorough history and a focused exam. Unfortunately, many patients expect an x-ray or MRI, and doctors, often facing time constraints, order one even though we know imaging tests dont really help us treat early sciatica any better. The Sciatica symptoms are often worse with sitting or coughing and may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the leg. A physical exam can confirm that the sciatic nerve is involved, and I look for weakness or diminished reflexes in the legs that suggest that someone needs early referral to a specialist. With this information, I can make an initial diagnosis and start treatment.
Read Also: What Happens If You Slit Your Wrist
What To Do If It Wont Go Away
If your sciatica persists, try these home treatments to see if they provide pain relief.
- Cold therapy: Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area for 10-20 minutes, several times a day.
- Heat therapy: Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to the area for 15-20 minutes, several times a day.
- Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen may be prescribed to manage pain, swelling, and inflammation.
- Physical therapy, gentle stretching, and exercise: Working with a physical therapist can help you strengthen and stretch muscles. Yoga can also help improve muscle strength and flexibility.
Before introducing any of these treatments, consult a healthcare professional to be sure your pain is indeed being caused by sciatica, and that these at-home treatments will be safe for you.