How Can You Treat Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common pain condition where a pinched nerve in the lower back causes leg pain. The first instances of pain often begin on one side of the lower spine before passing through the sciatic nerve that runs down the leg and ends at the foot. Many patients describe this sensation as worse than any associated back pain, and for some it can be intolerable. Sciatica often happens due to a herniated disc – a structure within your spine that “bulges” or “cracks” and pinches a nearby nerve. While sciatica symptoms can dissipate after six weeks, some people may still feel pain. If you are still feeling painful sciatica symptoms, the following three treatments can help address the symptoms.

Physical Therapy

Moving is often difficult for people who have sciatica, but staying physically active is vital in treating – and preventing – the condition. Exercise has many positive biological effects, including increased blood flow to the affected nerves that can flush out the chemicals which cause painful inflammation. Exercise does not have to be intense; a 15-20 minute walk each day or brief swimming routine can be enough to help relieve your pain. If those exercises are too much, guidance from a physical therapist can help you develop a specialized plan.


Massages are not limited to spa treatments. In this case, trigger point therapy is considered the strongest massage treatment for people searching for pain relief. The piriformis is a muscle that sits above the sciatic nerve. Once it gets tight, it starts pinching the nerve and makes the leg numb. To address this numbness and associated pain, a specialized massage therapist will apply pressure to the inflamed areas – also known as trigger points – within the piriformis and other muscles in the lower back.

Surgical Options

Surgery is often seen as the last option for addressing pain symptoms, but it is the path many people take when more conservative methods do not bring relief. Advancements in medical technology mean that surgery for sciatica does not have to be a lengthy procedure with a long recovery time. Minimally invasive surgeries allow doctors to find the herniated disc that is the root of the sciatica pain and can make the changes necessary to relax pressure from the nerves.

Marc Cohen is a nationally renowned minimally invasive spine surgeon who works with a team of back pain experts in New Jersey. For the best leg pain treatment, contact the Spine Institute today to learn how we can help.