Sciatica is one of the most painful conditions with debilitating effects. Pain that burns, tingles, and shoots up the back and down the leg can severely affect some people.
Are you suffering from sciatica, or have in the past and are looking for ways to keep it at bay? Let’s read about the causes and treatments so that you can find a solution, soon!
What is Sciatica?
The condition of sciatica refers to the sciatic nerve in the lower back region. This nerve causes extreme pain and can be completely debilitating.
This can be caused by injury, spinal disk bulging or degeneration, pregnancy, gaining weight, poor posture, and even sitting in an office chair for prolonged periods of time.
Sciatic pain can vary in symptoms and intensity. Most commonly, sciatica is felt locally in the lower back or buttocks, and the pain can “shoot” upwards or down into the leg.
In addition to sciatica “shooting,” it is also described as burning pain, and it can show up as numbness or a tingling sensation.
Most often, sciatica is felt only on one side of the body. It is rare that someone will suffer from sciatica on both sides.
In the rare cases that someone suffers from sciatica on both sides, it is referred to as bilateral sciatica and usually refers to an issue with the disks in the spine such as degeneration.
Sciatica is a treatable condition. Mild cases can be addressed with at-home treatment, while serious cases are treated by professionals such as chiropractors, doctors, and pain management specialists.
Rest and Relaxation
Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and that it needs something from you. Sometimes all your body is asking for is rest and relaxation.
Be aware that too much rest can make the pain worse. Sleeping in the wrong position can cause more stiffness and create more pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Just Chill Before Things Heat Up
Cold therapy (using an ice pack) for the first few days of sciatica treatment may help. Using cold therapy for 15-20 minutes will reduce inflammation as well as numb the pain signal.
After a few days of cold therapy, you can start to use heating pads as well. Heat will relax the tight muscles around the nerve and encourages blood flow as the vessels are less restricted.
How does chiropractic help with sciatica pain? Chiropractors adjust the spine so that disks can shift back into place, alleviating the pressure from the sciatic nerve.
Referred to as “alternative” medicine practices, treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and reflexology are effective at treating sciatica conditions.
These are only known as alternative medicine in the United States. In most countries, they are more common and accepted by the mainstream rather than going to a general practitioner for everything.
Exercises For Sciatica
Moving the body during exercise can loosen up muscles that are tightening down on the sciatic nerve. The right exercises can help, yet the wrong exercises can make the pain and condition worse.
Sitting still can also make the condition worse, just as sleeping can. The sitting position creates pressure on the sciatic nerve, and it is suggested to use a cushion or alternative-style chair to alleviate pressure.
Stretches can prevent sciatica, treat sciatica, or stop it from returning. For assistance with stretches, you can talk to a physical therapist.
To do stretches on your own, always breathe through the entire stretch and go as slow as possible, or you could end up hurting yourself even worse.
Stop when you start to feel the muscle stretch and hold the position for a few seconds before stretching any further. Do not stretch until the point of pain.
Roll it Out
Have you ever used a foam roller? A foam roller relieves tense muscle fibers and reduces inflammation.
Technically, a foam roller is a way to perform a myofascial release on yourself. To use a foam roller, it is best if you are relaxed as possible. Try not to hold tension in your body as you do it.
For sciatica relief, you can foam roll your lower back, into your glutes, and down your hamstrings.
Stress is a factor in over 90% of all illnesses. Not saying that you have sciatica because you have a stressful life, but it can certainly add to it.
Carrying extra weight or suddenly gaining weight can put a strain on your body. Experts say that every extra pound of weight that we have puts several extra pounds of pressure on joints and muscles.
A topical solution to sciatica is often a temporary one and will not cure the condition. Yet, topical treatments can ease the pain and help you get through the day until you can find a more permanent solution.
Here are some topical solutions:
- Cold/heat therapy cream
- Tiger balm
- Athletic muscle rubs
- Pain relief spray or lotion
Use these products as directed on the packaging and seek professional help for further treatment. A pain management doctor is a good place to start.
Talk to a Spine Specialist
Talking to a professional can help you get X-rays and assessments to see what treatment plan is best for your situation.
Sciatica treatments may include injections and nerve blockers which are minimally invasive but highly effective.
Scheduling Surgery With a Doctor
Surgery for sciatica is usually the last resort and only necessary for extreme cases. If you have tried everything to relieve your sciatica and nothing is working, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a surgeon who specializes in sciatica.
Find Freedom From Sciatica Pain
There are many ways that sciatica pain can be treated and controlled, from home methods such as stretching to professional help like nerve blockers and injections. Elite Pain and Spine can help give you the answers and relief that you have needed for a long time.