Chiropractic vs. Drugs for Sciatica & Back Pain

Sciatica can be a debilitating condition, significantly hindering your ability to sit for long periods or go about your daily work without pain. Many patients reach for painkillers when they start to feel a sharp pain in their lower back or an aching sensation in their legs. However, a growing body of research is questioning the effectiveness of relying on medications for sciatica relief.

A meta-study published in the British Medical Journal critically examined the results of 23 studies on the efficacy of drugs for sciatica. The authors found there was insufficient evidence demonstrating “favourable effects of NSAIDs, corticosteroids, antidepressants, or opioid analgesics in the immediate term [relief of pain] even compared with placebo.” In fact, many patients reported that these medications did not decrease one of the primary symptoms of sciatica-- leg pain. Even though NSAIDs and an anticonvulsant did provide temporary relief, they did not offer clear long-term benefits.

Not only are these drugs not always effective for patients, they may pose certain risks. Chronic use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can damage your liver and stomach. Injections of steroids are also not a lasting solution for sciatica and back pain. Long-term use of corticosteroids may lead to a weakening of the bones, elevated blood pressure, and weight gain (note: these level of these risks depend on the dose and frequency of injections).

Patients searching for a less risky way to reduce sciatic nerve pain will be happy to know that chiropractic care and physiotherapy can provide drug-free relief. Our Henderson chiropractors are trained in using chiropractic and physiotherapy techniques to naturally ease sciatica. Studies have shown that the majority of patients with severe sciatica are able to recover with such conservative treatments.

Call our office in Henderson, NV for non-invasive relief of sciatica today.


McMorland G, Suter E, Casha S, du Plessis SJ, Hurlbert RJ. Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2010; 33(8): 576-584.

 Rafael Zambelli Pinto, Chris G Maher, Manuela L Ferreira, Paulo H Ferreira, Mark Hancock, Vinicius C Oliveira, Andrew J McLachlan, Bart Koes.”Drugs for relief of pain in patients with sciatica: systematic review and meta-analysis.” British Medical Journal. 2012, February; 344:e497 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e497.

July 13, 2022

Dr. Russell

At Advanced Spine & Rehabilitation, based in Henderson and Las Vegas Nevada, we strive to go beyond the expected to deliver the most positive patient encounter possible. Chiropractic care brings relief to patients who have previously been living in pain, without the harmful effects of drugs or surgery. Our Henderson chiropractors can explain how chiropractic can add years to your life and life to your years.