Pain Management:

Sciatica

 

Sciatica can be effectively treated using naturopathic medicine. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, running from your spinal cord to your buttock and hip area and down the back of each leg. The term "sciatica" refers to pain or numbness that radiates along the path of this nerve (i.e., from your low back to your buttocks and the back of your legs). Sciatica is a symptom caused by other conditions affecting the nerve including herniated discs, conditions affecting the bones of the spinal column, inflammation of the piriformis muscle or trauma to the sciatic nerve or any of the bones or muscles surrounding it. Generally, if self-care is not effective in four weeks professional care will be required.

Seek emergency medical care if your sciatica:

  • Is sudden and severe
  • Accompanies numbness and muscle weakness in your legs
  • Accompanies loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Follows a violent injury (e.g., automobile accident)

Sciatica treatment at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

At TCNM, the goals of sciatica treatment are complete pain relief, healing of any damaged tissue and prevention of recurrence.

Conventional treatment for sciatica may include a physical therapy, and a variety of medications, including anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants and steroid injections which may have short- or long-term side effects. For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your sciatica.

Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves identifying specific treatment goals, a thorough understanding by your naturopathic doctor of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors, development of a comprehensive treatment plan and execution of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment.

At TCNM a typical approach to treating sciatica is to first identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., sedentary lifestyle) or general health (diabetes). Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Bowen Therapy
  • SuikodoTM
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Exercise prescription
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Botanical (herbal) medicines
  • Homeopathic medicines

Reference

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Sciatica [Online]. [cited 2009 Feb 18]; Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sciatica/DS00516