Sciatica Treatment – Singapore Specialist Pain International Clinic
The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and runs down the buttocks, through the leg, and down to the toes. In fact, it is the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve connects the legs and feet to the spinal cord, providing sensation, muscle strength, and movement.
Sciatica pain occurs when the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots that form it are compressed, causing it to become irritated and inflamed. The goal of sciatica pain treatment is to relieve compression of the sciatic nerve to eliminate or reduce pain.
When To See A Doctor For Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica can sometimes be hard to identify. This is because the symptoms overlap with symptoms of other conditions, and because sciatica can cause pain anywhere along the length of the sciatic nerve. Most commonly, patients have pain that seems to radiate from the lower back to the buttocks, and sometimes down the leg. Typically, the sensation only occurs on one side, and you may also experience tingling or numbness in the leg.
Make an appointment with a pain specialist if:
- Self-care measures like rest and over-the-counter medications don
- The sciatica pain is severe or getting worse
- The pain is sudden and/or causes numbness and weakness in your leg
- Your pain is the result of a traumatic injury
- You have difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements
These severe symptoms could be signs of nerve damage that require immediate attention.
What To Expect During Your Appointment?
During your appointment with a pain specialist at Specialist Pain International Clinic, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms and your level of pain. He or she will also review your medical history and may order imaging tests. These will help to diagnose the exact cause of your sciatica pain and to rule out other conditions. An accurate diagnosis will allow your doctor to propose a tailored sciatica pain treatment plan based on your level of pain, the cause of your pain, and your overall health and health history.
For Sciatica Treatment, Singapore Physicians at Specialist Pain International Clinic Start With Conservative Measures
Conservative Sciatica Pain Treatment
When you seek help for sciatica, our pain physicians almost always start with conservative, non-surgical measures. We only turn to procedural or surgical interventions if these measures do not bring sufficient relief. These conservative measures may include:
Limited rest — Resting for one to two days can help relieve sciatica pain. It’s important to be aware that a longer period of inactivity can actually make your pain worse.
Medications — Medications are prescribed to help reduce inflammation surrounding the sciatic nerve and relieve pain. Medications prescribed for the treatment of sciatica pain may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like naproxen, for pain
- Muscle relaxants to help relax triggered muscles
- Oral steroids to reduce inflammation surrounding the sciatic nerve
Physical therapy — Once you start to feel some pain relief, a structured program with a licensed physical therapist can help prevent pain from worsening or from recurring. A sciatica pain treatment physical therapy program typically includes stretching and specific exercises to help relieve compression on the sciatic nerve.
Steroid injections — If the pain does not subside with medications or physical therapy, our pain physician may recommend a steroid injection. This sciatica pain treatment is given right in the area of the sciatic nerve to help relieve inflammation and pain.
Targeted Disc Decompression — In certain instances, sciatica is caused by a prolapsed or bulging disc. A procedure utilising specialised radiofrequency needles are inserted to the prolapsed disc to shrink the prolapsed part relieving the compression on the sciatic nerve. However, only a small proportion of patients are suitable for such procedures.
Surgical Sciatica Pain Treatment
If you don’t notice improvement after about six weeks of conservative sciatica pain treatment, your doctor may present you with the option of surgery. Surgical intervention is reserved for severe cases of sciatica pain, like when pain is persistent or gets worse or in cases of nerve damage. Depending on your specific condition, your pain specialist may recommend one of these procedures:
Microdiscectomy or Endoscopic Discectomy — If a herniated disc in the spine is causing your sciatica pain, a microdiscectomy or endoscopic targeted discectomy removes the portion of the herniated disc that is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Laminectomy — Sometimes, pressure can develop on the sciatic nerve when inflammation causes it to be compressed by the lamina, a bony part of the vertebra that protects the spinal cord. A laminectomy sciatica pain treatment procedure removes the portion of the lamina that is pressing on the sciatic nerve.
Recovering From Sciatica Pain
The time it takes to recover from sciatica pain depends on the severity and the cause of your pain, as well as the sciatica pain treatment approach. Typically, pain subsides with up to six weeks of conservative treatment. If you have surgery for sciatica pain, it’s important to follow all instructions given to you by your care team to ensure a safe and proper recovery. To prevent sciatica pain from recurring, stick to a regular exercise program that strengthens the back muscles, use your legs when lifting objects, and focus on maintaining good posture.