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Is sciatic pain permanent, or will it go away?

Is sciatic pain permanent, or will it go away?

There are few things worse in the world than chronic back pain, if you’re currently suffering from sciatica or you have suffered in the past you’ll know how quickly it can take over your life and rob you of the ability to do even the most mundane day-to-day activities.

Over time this can have a serious impact on your physical and emotional wellness, so it’s more than valid to wonder if the pain will ever go away or if you’re going to suffer from it for life.

No right answer

As with most medical conditions, the sad truth is that there’s no “one size fits all” approach, because the causes of sciatica can be wildly different for every person. Sciatica is simply the inflammation or pinching of the sciatic nerve; what causes that can vary depending on your circumstances.

The good news, however, is that while it’s deeply unpleasant, most sciatic pain is relatively transient. Most people tend to get over it in a period of roughly four to eight weeks, but that’s not a hard and fast guarantee. It’s essential you do what you can to help your body recover.

What you can do

There are a multitude of ways to deal with sciatica and the right method for you will depend on your circumstances, so it’s important to first say that if you’re suffering from chronic back pain, or even a nagging niggle that won’t go away, and you haven’t yet been to your doctor, you should go as soon as possible.

Treatments vary from hot and cold compresses and pads, through to gels and massage, oral pain relief and acupuncture. In some extreme cases, it might require surgery. Depending on how willing you are to engage with your treatment program you may see improvement in as little as a week.

Something that is a consensus, however, is that not moving will only make things worse. One day of bed rest for sciatica pain relief is fine, but if you let all of your activities fall by the wayside the problem will only persist for longer.


  1. Sarah on May 4, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    I have 2 bulged discs in my lower back and a fractured vertebrae between my shoulders. (I fell down the stairs sleep walking.) The back pain I can handle but the pains in my legs is like lightening, I haven’t slept for a week I can’t walk or do anything with my son. The country is on lockdown and I can’t see the Muscular skeletal team any time soon. I feel like I’m taking loads of tablets and they’re not working. I’m on a amtitriptalim. Co codamol, neproxin and lansaprol. Multiple times a day. When the night comes it gets 100xs worse

    • SPRC on May 5, 2020 at 8:45 am

      Hi Sarah,
      Sorry to hear of your accident and the pain you are in. A difficult situation to manage at the best of times. If your accident was recent then you are in the acute phase of your sciatica symptoms and although it does not feel like it now the pain is very likely going to start subsiding with time. Take heart in that and continue to do every little thing that helps no matter how small it is. The tiniest of successes are of great value. Although you feel you cannot see a healthcare professional right now do remember to call and get advice if you need it. On the medication and sleep it would be worthwhile speaking to someone to get advice. The research is very clear that more sleep leads to reduced pain so finding a way to get some sleep is a priority. Wishing you all the best.

  2. Dawn Taylor on April 3, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Hi ,I had sciatica in September as a result of a fall onto my bottom,still experiencing pain,especially in my right knee,unbearable at times,tried all medication nothing helps

    • SPRC on April 5, 2019 at 8:26 am

      Hi Dawn, sounds terrible. If you’re pain is coming from a traumatic episode like a fall it is always worthwhile getting a second opinion on what could be causing your pain if you are not getting clear answers on what is needed to recover. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  3. Gill on February 14, 2019 at 4:06 am

    I’ve had sciatica for 4 weeks. It is unbearable! The nerve is in constant spasm. I have had to stop codeine as it was making me sick, tramadol was worse. I haven’t eaten today due to sickness & GP says I can’t start pain patches until I can ear again. So depressed & stresses, which I know is making it worse. Writing this in the middle of the night.

    • SPRC on February 14, 2019 at 9:51 am

      Hi Gill,
      Sorry to hear this. What you describe will be familiar to many people who have had sciatica like you have so you are not alone. The good news is that for the vast majority of people the symptoms reduce dramatically after a few weeks. It’s easy to say but try to get some sleep and focus on thinking about the things you’ll be able to do again when you recover. Read the blogs on our site and you might find one or two tips to help you along the way. Best wishes

  4. Caeoline dorran on January 16, 2019 at 5:50 am

    I have always suffered back pain.,but this pain is at my right side and is so painful ,its worse when I’m standing even for a short period ,it started yesterday could this be sciatica ???

    • SPRC on January 16, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Hello Caroline,
      Sorry to hear about your pain. Sounds like the symptoms you describe could be sciatica. Get your Doctor to assess you. They will be able to tell you whether your symptoms are sciatica. It is better to know so your are better placed to know how to deal with it.
      Get well soon.

  5. Jacqueline on October 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I work as a cleaner and assistant cook on my feet for long hours at the minute when I lift heavy things the pain is unbearable I have been in pain for three days not in work , am I making it worse by not being in work .

    • SPRC on October 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Jacqueline,
      Sorry to hear about your pain? Being on your feet for long hours and lifting heavy things is not going to help back pain and sciatica. Being physically active while aggravating your symptoms as little as possible is helpful. There is good research out there that indicates when people are engaged at work that it can help recovery. If you can be at work for periods and do different work that does n’t aggravate your symptoms that might be helpful.
      We hope your symptoms calm down soon.

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