sciatica symptoms and treatmentLiving with sciatic pain can be incredibly distracting.  Not only is sciatica distracting, it can interfere with your ability to sit, stand, walk, work, and sleep.  When intense sciatica affects your ability to function, sciatica pain relief, in any form, is needed just so you can feel like a normal human being.

Sciatica refers to irritation of the sciatic nerve.  When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, an inflammatory reaction takes place, which, in turn, produces pain.  Symptoms associated with sciatica include sensations such as burning, tingling, shooting, or stabbing pain that radiates into the buttocks and down the leg.

Sciatica can result from a lumbar herniated disc, piriformis muscle irritation, an unstable spondylolisthesis, or spinal stenosis.  To address sciatica symptoms effectively, the underlying cause of the problem needs to be identified and ultimately treated.

Sometimes, however, the irritation of the sciatic nerve is so severe that treating the underlying problem is next to impossible due to the intense pain.  In these cases, sciatica symptoms require medication therapy before other treatment is implemented.

Medications used to treat sciatica pain include opioids (narcotics), steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants.  Narcotic medications have been shown to be effective when used for nerve pain relief, but their efficacy for sciatica relief remains untested.  Anticonvulsants and antidepressants are sometimes used for severe pain in the lower back, but are rarely used to treat sciatica pain.

Perhaps the best medications to treat acute sciatica pain are the steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.  These drugs are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that are used for short periods of time.  A typical treatment regimen will usually be 6 days of gradually decreasing doses of the medication.
While the use of medication to treat back pain and sciatica does nothing to treat the underlying cause of the problem, control of the inflammatory process is sometimes necessary to obtain at least temporary pain relief and allow more direct treatment to take place.

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