The sciatic nerve extends from your lower back down to your feet. If you have sciatica, something such as a disc or bone spur compresses your sciatic nerve. This compression can cause pain, inflammation, and a feeling of numbness. If it impacts your mobility, sciatica pain can feel rather scary.
Medical treatments for sciatica include corticosteroid medication, physiotherapy, and corrective surgery when the pain is life-limiting. There are two types of surgical treatment available for sciatica. One type of surgery is called a diskectomy and the other option is a laminectomy.
But, when the pain is bearable, you can treat sciatica at your own home. Here are ten things you can do:
Putting an ice pack on the back of the pelvis can alleviate discomfort caused by sciatica. When you apply an ice pack to any part of your body, the blood vessels in that area constrict, restricting blood flow. As a result, your back will feel numb rather than painful.
Warm baths, heat pads, and hot water bottles can help alleviate sciatica pain temporarily. The pain relief occurs because the heat increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the rear pelvis, where the root of the sciatic nerve is. However, applying heat can cause a build-up of fluid and more inflammation, so it is not wise to rely on this pain-relief method too much.
Walking is a form of exercise. Thus, walking triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are excellent pain relievers. However, it is sensible not to push beyond your pain barrier when you go for a walk. Overdoing things can make sciatica pain worse.
No Bending Forward
Bending forward to grab things might exacerbate your sciatica pain. Bending over puts more pressure on your spine due to gravitational pull. You will then add the weight of whatever you want to pick up. Doing this can overload your bones and discs and injure you. Instead, bend your knees to dip to the floor.
Strengthen Your Core
Strengthening your core can help decrease sciatica discomfort. Yet if you do the wrong type of core exercises, it might make the problem worse. Make sure you only do core exercises that are appropriate for sciatica sufferers. You can find out more about safe core exercises online. However, it is best to consult a healthcare professional such as a physical therapist. They can help you to strengthen your core safely.
Stop Painful Activities
Some movements are likely to cause discomfort associated with sciatica. Examples include squatting exercises, raising both legs off the ground while lying down, bending forwards with your legs straight, jumping, running, and rotating the torso. Avoid movements that are associated with sciatica pain. If you know that doing a specific type of physical activity irritates your sciatica, stop doing it. Continuing to do a physical activity that gives you sciatica will probably exacerbate the problem.
Some people use pain-relieving medication such as stronger NSAIDs or even opioid analgesics to reduce the discomfort sciatica causes. While strong painkillers can do a lot to alleviate pain, they are not a great long-term solution. Taking NSAIDS for a long time can cause digestive issues. It is a bad idea to take opioid analgesics for more than three days because they are addictive.
TENS machines work by sending a small electrical impulse to your nerves, thereby reducing the number of pain signals that travel up your spinal cord to your brain. TENS machines are excellent pain-relievers. Pain relief via a TENS machine is not addictive.
Avoid Sitting or Lying Down for Too Long
Try not to sit down or lounge on your sofa for durations of time that exceed twenty minutes. Sitting or lying down for too long can make your sciatica pain worse. Instead, get up and walk around every twenty minutes, even if it is painful.
Wait It Out
Fortunately, the pain from sciatica is not unending. Usually, the problem corrects itself in four to six weeks, though it can last longer. If you have the patience to wait it out and do your best not to worsen the situation, your discomfort will probably disappear.
When To See a Health Care Provider
If the steps you take at home do not alleviate your symptoms in time, you should make an appointment to see your health care provider so you can discuss the problem. You should also consult a health care provider if the issue worsens rather than getting better.
Sciatica is painful but temporary. Doing some of these tips will help you recover at home and reduce your pain, enabling you to live your life to the fullest. To learn more of about our services click here.