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Can Sciatica Recur?

Anyone who has ever experienced sciatica surely wants to prevent it from coming back. Sciatica is a type of nerve pain that radiates down the lower back and travels down one or both legs. The pain often feels like an intense, sharp, burning sensation. 

Sciatica typically goes away on its own over the course of a few weeks. However, some people have persistent sciatica that lasts more than 12 weeks or goes away and returns in the form of flare-ups.

At Lynx Healthcare, pain management physician Dr. Michael Pylman and our caring team are devoted to helping you manage your pain so you feel and function better. If you’ve had an episode of sciatica, the goal is to prevent it from recurring. However, if sciatica becomes chronic, we can help ease your pain so that you can lead a good quality of life. 

What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that originates in the lower spine and passes down both buttocks and thighs, traveling all the way down to your foot. Compression of the sciatic nerve causes sciatica. Issues in the lower spine such as a bulging disc, bony growth, or degenerative changes that cause narrowing of the spinal canal are the most common culprits. 

The pain is most often felt on one side of the body and usually resolves in 4-6 weeks. If your pain lasts more than 8 weeks or goes away only to return, Dr. Pylman can provide a comprehensive evaluation and recommend a treatment plan to get you back on track with less pain and better functioning. 

Preventing sciatica from recurring

Treating the underlying cause is the most effective way to prevent sciatica from returning. Oftentimes, a herniated disc is the cause. When this is the case, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, physical therapy, and self-care can manage your condition. 

In some cases, surgery is necessary to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve and restore the space in the spinal canal. Once Dr. Pylman determines the cause of the pressure on your sciatic nerve, we can work toward alleviating your pain.

Why did my sciatica return?

It’s frustrating when you make progress and become pain free only for your sciatica to flare up again. Conservative treatments, such as rest and stretching, combined with medication to reduce pain are the first steps in managing sciatica. 

But sometimes these measures aren’t enough to prevent sciatica from returning. An in-depth evaluation is necessary to determine what brought your sciatica back.

Our primary goal is to adequately treat your sciatica so that it doesn’t become bothersome and interfere with your daily life. If symptoms return, Dr. Pylman may recommend a steroid injection into your nerve root to calm inflammation and ease pain. 

Lifestyle factors such as lack of physical activity, prolonged sitting, and being overweight can increase your risk of sciatica recurring. Making some lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of sciatica flare-ups.

Sciatica can recur, so that’s why you need a pain management specialist in your corner with the expertise to effectively manage your sciatica pain. Our comprehensive pain management program offers a range of therapeutic treatments to alleviate your pain so that you feel better. To learn more, give us a call at our Albuquerque office, or you can request an appointment online today. 

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