The first step to treating sciatica is rest, heat, and ice. If these at-home remedies don't improve symptoms, a number of medications can be prescribed to provide sciatica pain relief. These can include anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. Physical therapy is also often helpful in relieving the pain of sciatica. Exercises for sciatica are aimed at improving posture, strengthening the muscles in the legs and back, and improving flexibility. If pain is severe enough, a spine specialist might recommend steroid injections as part of sciatica treatment. Such injections can reduce inflammation as well as physical discomfort.
If conservative sciatica treatments fail to help manage the pain, a spine surgeon may recommend sciatica surgery. Surgical operation is not usually recommended as a treatment for sciatica, but in some rare cases in which the compressed nerve causes significant weakness or trouble controlling the bowels or bladder, it may be the best option. In this case, the spine surgeon will perform a procedure that takes the pressure off of the sciatic nerve, which may be caused by a bone spur or a herniated disc.