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Pain occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed by a herniated disc or other spinal problem. Often, the problem resolves on its own in time. Other times, physical therapy or prescription medications help. In severe cases, patients may require surgery.
Doctors use different surgical techniques based on the needs of the patient and the cause of the problem. Patients recover more quickly from some procedures than from others. Sometimes doctors can use laser surgery, from which patients recover very quickly.
Doctors usually perform sciatic nerve surgery under general anesthesia. Sometimes doctors use epidural or local anesthesia instead so the patient is awake but unable to feel the procedure. Patients recover more quickly from the effects of local anesthesia than from general or epidural anesthesia.
Patients usually stay in the hospital for a few days after sciatic nerve surgery. However, Patients that undergo laser surgery usually go home the same day.
Doctors generally want patients out of bed and walking the day of surgery or the next day at the latest. Doctors recommend daily low-impact exercise to aid in the recovery process. Doctors sometimes recommend physical therapy, as well.
Patients need to limit certain activities for several weeks, including lifting heavy objects and strenuous exercise. Patients should not drive as long as they are taking narcotic pain medication. When patients can return to work depends on the type of work that they do.