If you’ve been suffering from lower body pains, you should learn about sciatica. Sciatica is caused by compression, inflammation, pinching, or irritation of a nerve in the lower back. This is usually brought on by a slipped or herniated disc that puts pressure on the root nerve. People with sciatica often get better with time and self-care. In today we’ll discuss what sciatica is, and how you can ease the pain using some effective remedies.
Will hot and cold packs help? What about taking over-the-counter medicines? We’re talking all that AND more… Sciatica is a nerve pain caused by injury to the sciatic nerve, which originates in your buttocks. Did you know the sciatic nerve is the thickest and longest nerve in your body? It’s made up of 5 nerve roots. These five nerve roots make up the right and left sciatic nerves. Each sciatic nerve runs through your hips, buttocks, and down the leg, ending slightly below the knee.
What is Sciatica ?
“Sciatica” is used to describe any pain that originates at the lower back, and proceeds down your leg. This pain is the cause of your irritation, inflammation, pinching, or compression. If you have sciatica, you may suffer from severe to mild pain in any part of the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica can lead to muscle weakness, numbness, and an unpleasant pins-and-needles sensation in your legs, feet or toes. Approximately 40% of Americans will experience sciatic pain at some point in their life.
However, several self-care treatments can help you reduce the pain. Let’s talk about those… Have you ever had sciatica? What is your way of reducing the pain?
Ice and heat treatment
Studies show that almost 90% of individuals with sciatica can feel better without surgery. You can opt for cold and heat treatment to effectively treat your sciatica at home. Both ice and heat packs are known to reduce the pain of sciatica. For the first week, apply an ice pack. Use ice on your lower back to ease inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Make sure you don’t get frostbite. Ice packs shouldn’t come in direct contact with the skin.
Wrap them in a clean cloth or towel. Leave them for about fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. With a 15 to 20 minute break in between, try an on-off cycle for 75-100 minutes. Stop the process, to see if the pain has gone away or not. Remember, it’s okay to do some mild stretches between ice pack applications. It’s highly recommended you wait for 30 minutes to let the area get warm. Between 3 to 5 applications per day can relieve sciatic pain. Heat packs can be used after the first week of ice pack application. This is when some healing has likely taken place and pain has subsided. Heat packs will increase the flow of blood to the area, which may speed up healing.
The process will also relax the muscles, so you can try mild stretching to alleviate the pain. Use a hot water bottle or heating pad wrapped in a towel. You can also soak in a hot bath. Just remember to be careful, a pad that’s poorly applied can burn you. Apply the heat pack for a minimum of fifteen minutes, but no more than 2 hours. Feel like you’re missing out?
Yoga is good for those with chronic lower back problems. There is scientific evidence that suggests yoga is good for sciatica relief. Yoga poses can assist you in straightening out, and strengthening the lower back. Certain spinal twists may help relieve pain caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. Yoga also helps lengthen the spine, which may relieve pain caused by the pressing of the spinal cord against the sciatic nerve.
Time and activity may tighten the hip muscles, applying pressure on the sciatic nerve. Yoga will loosen the hip muscles, reducing sciatic pain. Trying general stretches on a regular basis can greatly ease pain on the whole sciatic nerve. You can try the bridge pose, downward dog, sitting half-spinal twist, or the cow face. Get in touch with a professional instructor to learn proper stretches and yoga poses.
When you experience some relief you can work up to other strengthening and aerobic exercises. Over the counter medicines Several over-the-counter medicines can help with inflammation, pain, and swelling. The most common over-the-counter medicines used for sciatic pain are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It’s important to understand the type of pain you feel, in order to choose the best medicine to treat it. These medications are used to control the symptoms of lower back pain and sciatica. The duration and nature of your pain also play a role. Remember to take the medication as directed.
Do not change the amount, or the schedule suggested by your doctor. Don’t forget to ask about the side effects of the over-the-counter medicine. Aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen are the most common drugs used for sciatica. Before we move ahead, here’s another video you might appreciate. Since we’re talking about the body, you want to watch and learn about 8 types of body pain. Now back to our discussion on sciatica pain relief.
Acupuncture is one of the safest and most-effective treatments for sciatic nerve pain. The process has no side effects compared to over-the-counter medicines and other general treatments. Studies have revealed the advantages of acupuncture in sciatic pain relief. It’s used to effectively treat a variety of symptoms, especially pain. A licensed acupuncturist will insert thin needles at certain points on your body. The process will trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine, changing your brain chemistry, and increasing the flow of pain-killing chemicals, leading to pain relief. Epidural Steroid Injection An epidural steroid injection is used to inject powerful anti-inflammatory medicine into your body. It usually enters into the space outside of the sack around your spinal cord.
This area is called the epidural space. These types of injections help increase your mobility and function, while avoiding surgery. The injected medicine decreases swelling and pressure on the larger nerves around your spine, and helps to ease the pain. The procedure for getting an epidural steroid injection is not painful. However, you have to be extra careful about not moving during the process. The injection needs to be precise. You’re kept under observation for approximately 15 to 30 minutes after getting the shot. An epidural steroid injection can also make other treatments easier. The effect of these injections wears off after a few months. The number of injections you can receive is also limited. This is because the side effects increase when steroid injections are taken too frequently. You should get in touch with your doctor before planning an injection. For most people, sciatic pain responds to self-care measures. Resting for a day or two might provide some relief.
Keep in mind that inactivity can make your symptoms and pain worse. You can always contact your healthcare advisor to design a suitable care program and prevent severe or acute pain. Improving your posture can also help you deal with sciatic pain. Every person with sciatica is different. The intensity and cause of the pain vary from person to person. In some patients, results may be achieved with self-care treatments, while some require a more aggressive approach.
If you can’t find any relief from the above-mentioned tips, it’s time to get in touch with a health care professional right away. Here’s what you need to know. Check out 12 exercises to ease sciatic nerve pain. Or how about 8 great ways to improve your posture forever? Or better yet, watch both, and learn how self-care treatments or prescribed medications help you through the painful experience.