Im sorry to hear about your mother. The sciatica can be managed with the help of other treatment modalities apart from surgery. This depends on the severity of the sciatica and also the location at which the compression is taking place. The common treatment options for this would include,
1) Epidural injections - these can provide relief for months at a time and can be considered in some cases where surgery is not possible. The diabetes that she has, would not be affected too much by a single shot of steroids into the spine.
2) TENS - this basically uses small electrical currents to stimulate the nerves over a period of time which can be used to control the pain of sciatica. This can be done at home even.
3) radiofrequency ablation - This is basically a procedure in which the nerves which are causing the pain would be targeted and ablated (in layman terms burned) to control the pain.
4) Rhizotomy - which is variation of the above ablation
I think in her case TENS therapy with epidural injections would be the most useful in controlling her pain.
Do you have any more questions?
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