I have been having trouble with sciatica off and on for the last eight months. I have been doing the exercises given to me by a physical therapist. Is there anything else that might help take care of this problem?

Sciatica is the term used to describe low back pain that goes into the buttock and travels down the back of the leg. The cause is usually pressure on an irritated spinal nerve. This can come from arthritic changes in the spine, disc protrusion, tumors, or other changes in the bone structure.

Treatment usually ranges from medication to active exercise in physical therapy. You may want to ask your doctor about steroid injections. This treatment has been used for many years with some success. Recently, this technique has been improved using a new X-ray imaging method called fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy allows the doctor to guide the needle right to the problem area and inject the medication directly at the nerve site.

With this method, you may only need one injection. There are fewer complications with fluoroscopy than with "blind injection" (injection without X-ray imaging). Treating with this type of injection before the symptoms have lasted a full year is advised. Combining injection with a rehabilitation program seems to have the best results.