Prognosis for Sciatica

In most cases, sciatica resolves over time with conservative treatment (e.g., rest, exercise). Many patients recover from the condition within 6 weeks. However, sciatica may recur.

To help prevent complications of sciatica, contact a physician as soon as possible if you experience severe back pain or lower back pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness that radiate into the hip, thigh, and lower leg.

Prevention of Sciatica

Conditions that cause sciatica cannot be prevented in all cases. The following measures can help reduce the risk for sciatica and other types of back pain:

  • Avoid smoking, which may increase intervertebral disc degeneration.
  • Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen back and abdominal muscles.
  • Maintain good posture (especially when sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  • Practice proper body mechanics when lifting (e.g., keep the back straight and lift using the legs and hips), bending, and twisting.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 06 Nov 2008

Last Modified: 18 Nov 2011