Usually sciatica pain gets better on its own or with the help of non surgical treatment. However, when the patient gets no pain relief and the sciatica symptoms are ongoing and remain severe even after six to twelve weeks, doctors generally consider lower back surgery. The two sciatica surgery considered depending upon the cause as well as the duration of the sciatica pain are:
- Microdiscectomy (minimally invasive surgery)
- Lumbar Laminectomy ( open decompression surgery)
How Sciatica Surgery Relieves Pain
Microdiscectomy for Sciatica
In this surgical procedure which is done for lumbar disc herniation a portion of a herniated disc that is causing the pain due to the pinched nerve is removed. Almost 90% to 95% of the patients who have undergone this surgical procedure report that they experience relief from their sciatica pain.
Lumbar Laminectomy for Sciatica
This procedure is done for sciatica pain that is caused by lumbar spinal stenosis. In this sciatica procedure a portion of the bone or disc material that is pinching the nerve root causing the pain is removed. According to health survey reports, almost 70% to 80% patients who have undergone this surgical procedure experience relief from their sciatica nerve pain.
The patient’s decision to have surgery is based primarily on the amount of pain and dysfunction the patient is experiencing, and the length of time that the pain persists. The patient’s overall health is a consideration as well.
Alternatives to Surgery
Surgery is not the initial or even the main treatment option for sciatica. In fact it should always be considered as the last option when nothing else seems to work or the sciatica pain is extremely severe and does not show any signs of improvement. Alternative or non-surgical options for sciatica pain relief include:
- Stretching and Exercise Program
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Pain medications including NSAIDs ( Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs)
- Heat and Ice packs
- Chiropractic or manual manipulations
- Massage Therapy