Lessons learned from several L5-S1 sciatic episodes:
1. Insist on an MRI as soon as possible and before you start your treatment. Possible causes of sciatica include disc, piriformis and spondlyosis. The course of treatment can be dramatically different depending on what you have. For example, doing Pilates or yoga with a disc problem is not good and can cause more harm. Instead, McKenzie and most importantly a pt who has truly studied McKenzie can be a godsend.
2. Chances are the back issue will be your buddy for life but it's totally manageable. So don't assume that once you've "healed" from an episode that you're good forever. Learn the proper follow up exercises and do them after you've healed and try to avoid the issues that may have caused it in first place (posture, running, sitting too long, etc).
3. Runners are nuts. There is no "running through" sciatica issues. It's ok to quit running and find one of the tens of other forms of exercise that are better for you. So if you're a runner and actually depressed that you can't accomplish the miraculous feat of pounding your discs for 26 miles because of a back problem, we don't feel sorry for you. A miraculous feat performed by millions across the world every year, so it ain't that great. Running at long distances is bad for your discs. Period. Sure, just like you could find a few outlier doctors who said that cigarettes aren't bad for you, you can find some who say long distance running is ok for those with back problems.
4. Don't get depressed and don't let this consume your life. This is one disease that is suffered by many, many of your fellow human beings. And the good news is that certain exercise is often the best cure along with losing weight so this condition forces you to
5. Go to to a good orthopod at the start. Alternative medicine is great but works best in conjunction with traditional medicine. When interviewing doctors you want the ones who will only cut you as a last resort. PT in my experience is the best cure. Chiros, acupuncture and all the ridiculous Internet gimmicks should be viewed with extreme skepticism IMO.