During this phase, the pain is still intense but it is getting better. Medications can help. If the pain isn’t easing, you should talk to your doctor.
Lingering lower back pain is a sign that sciatic nerves are under pressure. This is particularly true if you experience more pain when sitting, coughing, sneezing or bending forward at the waist. You may also notice a dull tingling in your legs that feels like pins and needles. This occurs because the signals from your spine aren’t making it to your legs.
A thorough medical history and physical exam are typically enough to diagnose sciatica. A test such as an X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be needed if you’re in severe pain or your symptoms don’t improve after a few weeks of home treatment.
Your healthcare provider will likely prescribe pain relief medications that include anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. They will also advise you to do exercises that reduce pain and strengthen the muscles around the spine. They might also suggest alternative therapies like acupuncture or massage.
If at-home treatments don’t improve your sciatica, your healthcare provider may recommend more involved treatment options including surgery. However, they’ll only recommend surgery if it seems that the condition is progressing and you could develop permanent damage to your nerves. They might also suggest it if you can’t work or perform your normal activities because of the pain and are becoming disabled. They’ll also suggest it if the symptoms indicate that a health problem such as a tumor or infection is causing the sciatic nerve compression.