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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > General Surgery & Neurosurgery > Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica Treatment Cost


How Much Does Sciatica Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,000-$90,000+
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Sciatica -- pain, numbness or tingling radiating down the leg -- typically is caused by a medical condition such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, an injury or other problem that results in pressure on or irritation of the sciatic nerve.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays or coinsurance of 10%-50%. Treatment for sciatica typically is covered by insurance, but certain treatments -- such as spinal decompression or acupuncture -- might be excluded, depending on the plan.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, treatment for sciatica can range from about $500 for warm compresses, over-the-counter or prescription pain reliever and rest; it can cost $50-$350 per session -- or a total of hundreds to thousands of dollars -- for physical therapy; it can cost $1,000-$5,000 or more per year for epidural steroid injections, or for anticonvulsant medications prescribed to treat nerve pain; and it can cost about $20,000-$90,000 or more for surgery, depending on the facility and the type of surgery.
  • For example, Drugstore.com charges about $10-$12 for a one-month supply of a generic tricyclic antidepressant such as nortriptyline[1] or amitriptyline, which have been shown to relieve pain in some patients with sciatica. It charges about $75 or more, depending on dose, for the generic prescription pain reliever tolmetin sodium[2] . Drugstore.com charges about $20-$100 or more for a one-month supply of the generic drug gabapentin[3] , an anticonvulsant also used to treat neurological pain, and charges from less than $70 to $400 or more for the brand-name equivalent, Neurontin[4] . Drugstore.com charges from less than $100 to $250 or more for a one-month supply of the anticonvulsant medication Lyrica[5] , also used for neurological pain.
  • Physical therapy typically costs $50-$350 per session. Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[6] in Nebraska charges about $1,000 to $1,500 for an epidural steroid injection, not including doctor fee, with an additional $500 for fluoroscopy, a special kind of X-ray, to guide the needle. And Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[7] charges about $12,000-$16,000, not including doctor fee, for a laminotomy, a surgery that removes part of the lamina, the bony layer covering the spinal cord. Herniated disc surgery typically costs $20,000-$50,000 or more. And a laminectomy, a surgery that removes the lamina entirely, typically costs $50,000-$90,000.
Related articles: Acupuncture, Physical Therapy, Spinal Decompression, Herniated Disc Surgery, Back Surgery, Cane

What should be included:
  • A doctor might first prescribe pain medication and rest. The>University of Maryland Medical Center has information on medications[8] used for sciatica pain. According to WebMD[9] , it is fairly common for sciatica symptoms to resolve with time. If that does not happen, or if symptoms are severe, a doctor might prescribe a tricyclic antidepressant[10] or an anticonvulsant medication such as gabapentin[11] (brand name Neurontin) or pregabalin[12] (brand name Lyrica). Or, the doctor might recommend epidural steroid injections[13] .
  • A doctor might recommend physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility and relieve pain. The University of Maryland Medical Center has information[14] on exercise, physical therapy and sciatica.
  • If other treatments do not work, and/or if there is an underlying condition such as a herniated disk or spinal stenosis, surgery such as a microdiscectomy or laminectomy might be recommended. Spine-Health.com offers an overview[15] of surgery for sciatica.
Additional costs:
  • Some patients require a cane, which typically costs about $15-$80, or a walker, which can cost up to $200 or more.
  • Some patients require a back brace or corset, which can cost up to $200 or more.
Discounts:
  • Many hospitals and doctors give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[16] in California offers a 35% discount.
  • Some drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs. Any patient without prescription drug coverage who also is not eligible for Medicare typically qualifies for the Together Rx Access[17] , a discount card that offers 25%-40% off brand-name drugs from many pharmaceutical companies. Most companies also offer free drugs to patients who have no coverage and meet certain criteria.
Shopping for sciatica treatment:
  • Spine-Health.com offers a locator for spine centers[18] with teams of specialists who all focus on treatment of spine-related disorders. Or, the American Academy of Neurology offers a neurologist locator[19] . A neurologist should be board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology[20] . The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery offers an orthopaedic surgeon finder[21] . And the American Board of Neurological Surgery offers a neurosurgeon locator[22] .
  • The American Physical Therapy Association offers a physical-therapist locator. Physical therapists are licensed at the state level after passing an exam, and it is important to verify that a provider is licensed.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.drugstore.com/nortriptyline-hcl/pamelor/10mg-capsules/qxn00591578601
  2.  www.drugstore.com/tolmetin-sodium/tolectin/200mg-tablets/qxn53489050601
  3.  www.drugstore.com/gabapentin/qxdgabapentin
  4.  www.drugstore.com/neurontin/qxdneurontin
  5.  www.drugstore.com/lyrica/qxdlyrica
  6.  tp.chi.acelogicus.net/nese/Default.aspx
  7.  tp.chi.acelogicus.net/nese/Default.aspx
  8.  www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_serious_low_back_pain_or_sciatica_000054_5.htm
  9.  www.webmd.com/back-pain/tc/sciatica-topic-overview
  10.  www.spine-health.com/treatment/pain-medication/antidepressants-definitive-guide
  11.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000940/
  12.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000327/
  13.  www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/lumbar-epidural-steroid-injections-low-back-p...
  14.  www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_treatments_uncomplicated_acute_low_back_pain_or_sci...
  15.  www.spine-health.com/conditions/sciatica/sciatica-surgery
  16.  www.whhs.com/about/washington-hospital-discount-policy-for-uninsured/
  17.  www.togetherrxaccess.com/p/prescription-savings/about-together-rx-access/enroll.aspx
  18.  www.spine-health.com/doctor/spine-center
  19.  patients.aan.com/findaneurologist/
  20.  application.abpn.com/verifycert/verifycert.asp
  21.  www.abos.org/find-a-certified-orthopaedic-surgeon.aspx
  22.  www.abns.org/diplomates/default.aspx
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