If you have sciatic nerve pain, most likely the doctor is going to zoom in on the back as the problem. He’s not going to look at your posture, your feet, your knees, or your hips. He probably won’t ask about your diet or the stress in your life. Most likely he won’t take a blood test to examine the levels of nutrients in your system, hormone imbalances, or the like. He doesn’t have time or he doesn’t know to even look in these places. If the problem is in your back, he’ll look at your back, make an assessment, maybe send you for X-rays, and come up with a solution. And that solution will, the majority of the time, be a drug or a referral to a specialist. It’s what he’s been trained to do. This tunnel vision means that the doctor figures your problem is pain, inflammation, or nerve pressure or damage—or some combination of these—and that he, therefore, must fix these problems. Prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs is often the first thing he’ll do. The inflammation must be controlled. He’s right about that—we want to reduce the inflammation—but the problem is that drug-based anti-inflammatories are often hard on the body, and though they may mask the problem temporarily by providing pain relief, they don’t offer a long-term solution. Popular recommendations include over-the-counter options such as Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin, and prescription brands such as Celebrex and Vioxx (although the latter was withdrawn from the market because of increased risk of heart attack and stroke). These all belong to a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Since they don’t solve the underlying problem (which could be in the mind, body, and/or diet), the patient ends up having to use them again and again. Prolonged use of NSAIDs increases the probability of stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding. They’re also hard on the kidneys and liver. For people who are experiencing chronic pain and popping pills on a regular basis, the risks can become serious indeed. Your medical doctor also may prescribe muscle relaxers. If you’re suffering from a muscle imbalance, muscle relaxers will grant you temporary relief. If muscle tightness has you “locked up” in a certain position (if you’ve experienced a muscle spasm), these drugs can relieve the rigidity and help you get moving again. If your muscles are putting pressure on a nerve (as in sciatica), have caused a herniated disc, or have become so chronically tight that you’re suffering from fybromyalgia, you’re only going to gain temporary relief with these pills. But again, the doctor is addressing only the pain—not the reason for the pain. So, most likely, as soon as you stop taking the prescription drug, that pain is going to come back. Also, it’s important to point out that there are safer, natural alternatives such as valerian, white willow bark, chamomile, and magnesium and homeopathics such as arnica and kali carb, just to name a few.