Why Sciatica Surgery Is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Solution

Medically Reviewed by NJ Spine & Orthopedic on June 17, 2023
Surgery is often an effective treatment approach to relieve sciatica pain. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Most people respond well to non-surgical treatments, while others may need surgical interventions to alleviate sciatic nerve compression. Sciatica treatments are diverse and depend on various factors, including the underlying cause of the pain. A skilled doctor can help you find which treatment might be the best fit.
A sciatica specialist at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can advise on the type of treatment that best relieves your sciatic nerve pain. Surgery is optional and while it may help some people, it may not be the best solution to address your sciatica problem.

When to Consider Sciatica Surgery

In most cases, surgery is not the first choice for sciatica pain. However, surgery may be a helpful option for sciatica nerve pain relief if the pain is caused by the following:

  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Spinal or epidural abscess
  • Severe spinal fractures
  • Tumors
  • Persistent infection in the pelvic region

Sciatica surgery could also be a viable solution if the pain persists or progresses even after treatment with several conservative measures. You can use our candidacy verification tool to check your eligibility for surgical procedures.

Surgical Options for Treating Sciatica

Sciatica surgery aims to control your symptoms. This involves removing the pressure on the sciatic nerves and stabilizing your spine. Surgical procedures that may effectively treat sciatica pain include:

  • Microdiscectomy: This minimally-invasive procedure involves removing a small part of the herniated disk pressing on your nerve. Your doctor may recommend this surgery if sciatic pain results from a lumbar disc herniation.
  • Laminectomy: This is a surgical procedure that relieves pressure on the sciatic nerve by removing the lamina.
  • Laminoforaminotomy: Developed here at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, this is a minimally-invasive procedure that involves performing a laminectomy and foraminotomy.

The type of surgery depends on the location and cause of the pain. Your surgeon can help determine which surgical procedure may work better for you.

How to Get Relief from Your Sciatica Pain Without Surgery

Patients can try a few pain management treatments aside from surgery to alleviate sciatica pain. However, your doctor may also explore various non-surgical treatment alternatives to relieve sciatic pain, including:

  • Physical Therapy: Doctors recommend physical therapy as the first-line treatment for sciatica pain. Your physiotherapist will assess the factors contributing to your pain. They’ll then recommend exercises and stretches that can help strengthen your muscles and reduce inflammation.
  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe pain relief medications to help ease the pain and reduce inflammation. This is a short-term solution for immediate pain before exploring long-term options.
  • Hot and Cold Therapy: Alternating hot and cold therapy can offer great relief. This includes applying an ice pack to decrease inflammation and a hot pack to increase circulation.
  • Epidural Steroid Injections: This involves injecting steroid medication and anesthetic into the epidural space surrounding your nerve roots and spinal cord. This provides long-lasting pain relief while improving lower back and leg mobility.
  • Massage therapy: Chiropractic treatment and massage therapy can also offer some pain relief. These options loosen your muscles, improve spinal function, and alleviate some of your pain.

Sciatica treatment options are endless, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Surgery becomes the only viable option after you’ve exhausted the non-surgical options or if your pain worsens. Let your healthcare professional determine which treatments are best for you. A doctor will diagnose the condition and determine the cause of your pain before resorting to the best possible interventions.

Contact an Experienced Spine and Back Specialist at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today

Surgery is not usually the first treatment recommendation for most patients with sciatica. Doctors will initially pursue non-surgical treatments before considering surgery. Unfortunately, some sciatica cases are severe and may need surgical interventions. However, surgery isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for sciatica pain. The best course of action will depend on your specific needs and the cause of your sciatic pain.

At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we understand that every person experiences sciatica pain differently. We not only diagnose your condition, but also take time to understand your individual goals before exploring any treatment options. Our skilled surgeons are ready to help you reclaim your life with our minimally invasive surgical procedures if necessary. Call us today at (866) 553-0612 or contact us online to learn how we can help treat your sciatica pain.

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