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What Are the Treatments for a Pinched S1 Nerve?

author image Jacques Courseault
As a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician I have extensive experience in musculoskeletal/neurological medicine that will benefit the network.
What Are the Treatments for a Pinched S1 Nerve?
Physical Therapy Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Lightwavemedia/Getty Images

According to MedlinePlus, of the National Institutes of Health, sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the leg, specifically along the L5 or S1 nerve region. The L5 S1 nerve region describes the area from the lower back behind the buttocks and down the back of the leg. The S1 nerve, specifically, is more posterior than the L5 nerve. Common causes include piriformis syndrome, a herniated disc or lumbar osteoarthritis. A patient with S1 nerve compression should fully discuss treatment options with his physician.

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Ice and Heat Therapy states that physical therapy may be effective in treating an S1 pinched nerve. During physical therapy, the therapist can teach a patient exercises to strengthen the leg muscles, as well as the back and core muscles, which will result in reduced compression of the S1 nerve. Furthermore, a therapist can provide modalities such as, ice therapy, heat therapy, stretching, strengthening, massage, and ultrasound therapy. Physical therapy is only effective if a patient commits to attending all sessions, and performs regular exercises at home.


Occasionally, a doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat an S1 pinched nerve, states The most common medications prescribed are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, because these medications reduce pain and inflammation along the S1 pinched nerve. In more severe cases, a physician may prescribe narcotics for short-term pain relief. In addition to NSAIDs, a physician may prescribe antidepressants or anticonvulsant drugs to help ease chronic S1 pinched nerve symptoms. A patient should follow a doctor's recommendations and let him know if she experiences any side effects from medications.

Steroid Injections

In more severe cases, an epidural steroid injection may be needed to treat symptoms of an S1 pinched nerve. This procedure involves an injection of steroid medication under live X-ray into the back near the area in which the S1 nerve exits the back. The steroid can reduce pain and inflammation along the S1 nerve, thereby treating and reducing symptoms.

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