| acute pain management

Investigating Sciatica Pain

“a major public health problem worldwide”

What are the major causes of sciatica? What treatments—such as NSAIDs, acetaminophen, systemic corticosteroids, epidurals, exercise therapy, surgery—work best for sciatica? What about prevention? Researchers, publishing their findings in Cureus, reviewed articles to uncover the most effective aids for sciatica pain, the prevalence of which is reported as ranging from 1.6% to 43%! Some findings:

  • Demographic characteristics impacting sciatica
    • Age/gender
    • Spine stress
    • General health (smoking, weight, etc)
    • Psychological stress (type of work, depression, etc)
  • Prevention of sciatica
    • Exercise
    • Smoking cessation: quitting smoking “could lead to a 40% prevention success rate”
  • Management of sciatica causes, such as
    • Disc herniation
    • Degenerative changes
    • Congenital abnormalities
    • Infection
    • Inflammation
    • Neoplasm

The study concluded, “Though most cases of sciatica are spontaneously resolved without any treatment, it is still a debilitating health problem with a high prevalence rate. Lifestyle change…is recommended… surgical intervention is recommended to relieve pain for a short period. However, no sufficient data indicates any surgical method association with better long-term outcomes than conservative management. Therefore, surgery remains the first-line intervention for sciatica coupled with surgical pathologies such as disc herniation, cauda equina syndrome, rumors, and severe fractures. …extensive studies are recommended to explore sciatica further and shed light on the unknown.”


Read the journal article.

Holly Caster