How to relieve sciatic nerve pain?
When sciatica is in question, the terrible pain that radiates along the pathway of the sciatic nerve is enough for people to decide to go to surgery. If you reached that point, you should know that there are ways to relieve that dreadful pain, and you can find them right here. So how to relieve sciatica pain?
Sciatica is leg pain that starts when a nerve in the lower back gets pinched. Even though the pain starts at the bottom of your spine, it courses through the entire length of the nerve, from gluteus to foot, causing agonizing pain, much worse than the pain felt in the back. People describe this pain as unbearable, debilitating, intolerable, and resembling the kind of pain felt with a severe toothache.
This is not a problem people are born with. Rather, it can be caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal, a bulging or herniated disk, or an injury. When a disk develops a crack or a tear, it protrudes into the spinal canal, and that can cause this problem with the sciatic nerve.
For some people, all problems clear up after a month or two, and they are the lucky ones. For others, the pain stays. And when it stays, it is almost unbearable – you can’t bend, lift, or even sit in a low chair, or it gets worse.
When you bear in mind that 4 out of every 10 people get sciatica or irritation of the sciatic nerve, you realize that it is not a small problem, and that non-surgical solutions for relieving the sciatica pain this condition causes must exist. In this article, I will summarize the best ones.
This is the first solution offered to everyone who suffers from sciatica. Depending on the amount of pain you are in, you can get muscle relaxants (loosen muscle tightened by sciatica), anti-inflammatory drugs (reduce inflammation and symptoms), epidural injections of steroids (reduce pain, a corticosteroid and an anesthetic are inserted into the space between two vertebrae), anti-seizure medication and tricyclic antidepressants (sometimes help treat sciatica, although that is not what they are designed for).
The main problem with medication lies in the fact that it doesn’t always work, or, that after a while, it stops working, so people suffering from sciatica have been known to change several types of medication in a short period of time.
Of course, never try to self-medicate and always consult your physician first.
2. How to relieve sciatica pain with hot and cold therapy
When first signs of sciatic pain show up, applying a cold compress can help a lot. All you need to do for this to work is to wrap a bag of frozen peas or ice in a towel, and apply it to the painful area. Repeat this several times a day, and never keep it for longer than 20 minutes.
If cold doesn’t work for you, you can try with heat instead. Put a heating pad, or a heat lamp on its lowest setting and pressing it to the painful area can also work, following the same process as with the cold compress.
Alternating between hot and cold can also provide some relief to people looking for how to relieve sciatica pain.
People claim that this helps with mild sciatica, and doctors explain that it does so because hot and cold are two sensations that your body reacts to, so when you put a cold or hot pack, your nerves will get another input in the painful area, so it will “distract” them, and bring the pain down a bit.
3. Strength and flexibility improvement
This is something most people respond well to.
Basically, building stronger muscles, or relaxing overly tense ones around the spine and abdomen can help with the pain. Doing gentle strengthening exercises that target the core and back can improve your posture, and reduce the chances for sciatica pains.
Also, increasing your hamstring, hip and glutes flexibility can decrease the stress on your lower back. Most types of sciatica respond well to stretching routines that target these muscles and tendons.
Stretching can also help the piriformis muscle, that runs just above the sciatic nerve and tend to cause pain if you spend too much time inactive. Simple yoga exercises can help here how to relieve sciatica pain.
Once you make your core and back stronger, and your muscles more flexible, the pain should be relieved. Great exercises for this are yoga, pilates and walking, just make sure you are not pushing yourself too much, as that can make the condition worse.
4. Massage, acupuncture and chiropractic therapy
This is one of the most common recommendations, and for some, it really works.
Massage can work because it helps loosen your muscles, improves flexibility and mobility, thus alleviating some of the pain. Just don’t expect a long and gentle massage. These are the ones that hurt.
Acupuncture was suggested as a good treatment after several studies had proven that it can help relieve the pain. This treatment uses fine needles that are inserted at specific locations on your skin – acupuncture points. These points produce an effect by stimulating the nervous system. Also, heated needles can help relax the muscles that are to blame for your pain, so if you decide to try this method, ask for warming acupuncture.
Chiropractic therapy is known to be painful on its own, but there are people who claim that it Is the only thing that helps. A chiropractor is able to adjust your spine in such a manner that your spinal movement increases, which then improves spine function and makes the pain more bearable. Also, depending on the type of sciatica, they can use electrical nerve stimulation, that can control the pain and reduce muscle spasms.
5. Alternative medicine to relieve sciatica pain
Sure, mainstream media hates it, doctors claim that it is all placebo effect, but 40% of Americans admit to using some sort of alternative medicine. So, when alternative cures are in question, I have only one rule – if there are real people who claim that they work, they might just be worth a shot.
I checked dozens of alternative sciatica cures, and only one stood out and had dozens of real reviews from people who tried it – Sciatica SOS. They have an interesting approach to how to relieve sciatica pain. They are selling a PDF manual that costs $37 and in that manual, you find a step-by-step guide that explains which herbs to use, how to adapt your diet, and which exercises to do.
Most alternative medicine cures guarantee nothing, but here, they are giving a 60-day trial, and if you are not satisfied, you get a full refund, no questions asked. People who used every other treatment claim that this is the only thing that worked for them, and that the pain is not coming back.
Since the cost is just a sliver of the value of a visit to the doctor, and you have a money-back guarantee, I think it is a risk-free offer worth trying.
After all is said and done, if you or someone you know are suffering from sciatica, you know just how incapacitating this condition can be, and that any pain relief is immensely helpful. Good news is that, as you have seen above, there are many different ways to how to relieve sciatica pain and treat this painful condition, and many of them are pretty effective. Consider which one agrees with you the most, and talk to your physician to determine if that is the best course for your health.