Let’s take a look at sciatica.
Sciatica is the term given to symptoms experienced from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve; it is not a diagnosis so much as a collection of symptoms; so a diagnosis will still be needed before starting treatment. The sensation of sciatica will be familiar to anyone who’s banged their “funny bone”; but located in their buttock, leg, foot and sometimes the back. Different diagnoses result in different treatment plans and different expectations for recovery, some may resolve in days, whilst others may never resolve completely.
Whilst most cases resolve within a couple of weeks; for those that do become chronic, the best thing you can do to improve the prognosis, is to start treatment sooner; which is a bit of a catch 22. As a rule of thumb, if the sciatica is significantly reduced after 5-6 days, then you shouldn’t need any treatment; if it is barely improved, or still worsening, then treatment might be a good idea, even if it’s just in the form of advice on how to manage the pain at home, and prevent it coming again.
NB: Patients often want imaging for their sciatica; however it is rarely necessary and not recommended (absent red flag or failure to respond to conservative care). For most cases, imaging actually worsens the outcomes for the patient.
See this post for details: https://www.facebook.com/BackInAction.Tewkesbury/posts/3317039221735289