Recently, I was talking to a patient about the effectiveness of a variety of treatments for acute sciatica. Depending on what type of doctor you see, the most effective treatment seems to vary greatly. If you consult a Physiatrist, you will most likely be referred to PT. See an Orthopedic Surgeon, a good oral steroid or steroid injection is probably in the cards. See your PCP (family doctor, internist, general practitioner) and you will probably be told to take ibuprofen or again referred to physical therapy. See me, a Chiropractor, and I'll tell you that you've come to the right place!
So who is right? While there isn't always a correct answer for this question, evidence definitely points in my favor! According to a review of evidence-based research done by the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2007, chiropractic is shown to be the most effective conservative treatment for acute sciatica. For reference, here is the link to the published article.
What also surprised me when I researched the effectiveness of various treatments for acute sciatica was the lack of effectiveness of oral steroids. I could not find a single study showing them to be helpful. Instead, the available studies tend to show that placebo is as effective as oral steriods for this condition...here is an example study.
Acute sciatica can be very debilitating and can linger for a long time (often many weeks). The earlier treatment is sought, the better results tend to be. If you have any questions about sciatica or chiropractic in general, definitely call our office. You can find more information at our website.