Sciatica pain can be extremely torturous and can impair normal life. It can restrict movement to a large extent. In most cases, the pain is limited to one side of the body. It starts at the lower back and moves down to the hip, calf and extends to the toes.
Sciatica is often mistaken for a disease. In fact, it is a result of a compressed, irritated, or pinched nerve. Treatment of sciatica pain therefore depends upon treating the cause of the compressed nerve.
Pain management is a significant aspect of all sciatic nerve treatment. Since any kind of movement causes pain, patients often prefer to restrict movement. Sitting idle is easier than experiencing excruciating pain. But remaining motionless can prove to be dangerous and can result in stiffness in the muscles. This can lead to further impairment.
Exercise is a key component of all sciatica alternative remedies. Patients are advised to maintain an exercise program in spite of the pain; therefore, pain management becomes a necessity.
The generic molecule pregabalin, an anticonvulsant, has shown encouraging results in treating chronic pain. Pregabalin is marketed under the trade name Lyrica® by Pfizer. It is more potent than the predecessor drugs and requires lower dosages for effective pain relief. It works on certain neurotransmitters that carry signals of pain and reduces nervous excitation.
Although it is helpful in temporarily relieving the pain of sciatica, Lyrica is beset with side effects that need to be understood and managed. Patients taking Lyrica report suffering from these side effects, among others:
- Drowsiness and dizziness - Driving or operating complex machinery under the effect of Lyrica is not advised.
- Blurred vision - Nearly 6% of patients in clinical trials have reported blurred vision.
- Weight gain and edema - Increased incidence has been seen if the drug is used concomitantly with an anti-diabetic drug
- Cardiac conditions – Lyrica is not suitable for patients with a past history of cardiac conditions.
- Other side effects - Hallucination, depression, memory loss, flushing, excessive salivation, and confusion can also occur.
Additionally, Lyrica is habit forming. Stopping the drug abruptly can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, like insomnia, nausea, and headaches.