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Drugs, Medications, and Spinal Injections to Relieve Sciatica

Your doctor may prescribe certain medications or spinal injections to treat your sciatica. The severity of your pain determines the prescription, which could be:

  • Epidural Steroid Injections: Steroids, which reduce inflammation, can help ease your sciatic pain. With an epidural steroid injection, you get a corticosteroid medicine injected near the spinal nerve roots. These injections can reduce pain for months and sometimes longer. However, epidural steroid injections aren't effective for all patients.
  • Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): These will help reduce swelling while relieving your pain. If an over-the-counter NSAID is an option for you, you and your doctor have plenty to choose from. You can use ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).
  • Prescription Medications: If you have chronic sciatica, you may need a muscle relaxant to help ease muscle spasms. As surprising as it may seem, anti-depressants can be effective drugs for treating pain because they may help block pain messages on their way to the brain. They can also help increase your body's production of endorphins, a natural pain killer.

As with any treatment, you must follow your doctor's advice precisely. Never mix over-the-counter and prescribed drugs without consulting your doctor.  You should also let your doctor know about all other medications you're taking (and even which vitamins and supplements you take); there could be interactions you want to avoid.

You should know, as you're considering various sciatica treatments, that SpineUniverse has several articles on other sciatica treatment options.  You may want to read about:

The goal of using medications to address sciatic nerve pain is to provide pain relief.  However, medications are not addressing the root cause of your sciatic pain; they aren't healing or curing the spinal condition that is leading to sciatica.  While you're experiencing relief from your sciatica, you may be better able to do physical therapy or exercises that may help address the sciatic nerve compression.

Updated on: 12/18/12
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