One of the largest nerves in the body is the sciatic nerve, running down from your lower spine all the way to your feet. This nerve is vital for your legs' movement, feeling and strength. A condition called sciatica can occur where the spinal nerve root in the lower back is compressed. This pain is often mistaken for being leg cramps or lower back pain. It can be quite debilitating.
You might also suffer sciatic pain from when a herniated disk develops. This is a tear or crack in a spinal disk that bulges into the spinal canal, sometimes resulting in the sciatic nerve getting pinched. If your pain persists, it’s important that you visit a doctor, as surgery may be required to correct it.
~ Note: This advice should not replace medical advice, please consult your doctor before deciding on a treatment path.
This alternative therapy involves hair fine needles, which are inserted into specific points in your body. The inserted needles stimulate energy flow and help improve nerve function. Many people report noticing a difference after one session. However, it is recommended you have several sessions (at least 12) to see a noticeable improvement. More symptoms can be relieved when you try warming acupuncture, a practice of acupuncture where needles are heated.
Although dismissed by many, this treatment was shown to offer pain relief, with benefits that can last for up to a year. Chiropractic care is a form of spinal manipulation that incites a response in the nervous system, which can restore normal mobility to an injured area and considerably reduce the amount of pain. The treatment creates an environment that promotes natural healing. The practice is also known to reduce inflammation and improve nerve function.
3. Alternate Temperatures
Using ice packs, or even wrapping a bag of frozen peas in a towel, can offer instant relief to the nerve. You can ice the area for 20 minutes every two hours, as needed. While ice soothes the outer pain, the sciatic nerve lies deeper in the body and ice packs can’t penetrate beyond the surface and won’t ease the inner inflammation. This is where heat can be effective. After icing, you can take a very hot bath or apply a hot pack. This boosts the blood circulation and lymph flow, reducing the inner inflammation, and assists the healing process.
4. Deep Tissue Massage
Trigger point therapy, the type of massage experts recommend for treating sciatica, is not a gentle massage. This targeted deep tissue massage can improve issues such as muscle spasms, as well as reduce pain and numbness in the legs and toes. The sciatic nerve rests underneath the piriformis muscle, located beneath the glutes. When this muscle tightens, it can pinch the sciatic nerve and cause the leg to go numb or tingle. Applying pressure to the inflamed areas, (or trigger points) in the glutes, lower back and piriformis muscles can ease sciatic pain. It might take up to 4 sessions before this therapy works. Each treatments session should be 7 days apart.
5. Devil's Claw
Taking this herbal medication has been reported to be effective at reducing sciatic pain. The herb is a strong natural anti-inflammatory and works much like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. The daily recommended dosage is 1,500mg, twice a day. You should find a brand with 50mg of harpagoside, which is the active compound. This is a safe pill, tested by safety reviews, however, keep away from this option is you are taking blood thinning medication or have peptic ulcers.
6. Tennis Ball Therapy
This treatment relieves sore muscles and muscle tension caused by sciatica by using the principles of massage, acupressure and reflexology. Like the deep tissue massage, this technique focuses on treating the piriformis muscle. Pressing the tennis ball against these muscles, the muscle tension, pain and rigidity in the buttocks and legs are reduced. This exercise also improves mobility and blood circulation in the affected area.
7. Epsom Salt Bath
These therapeutic salts are well known for relaxing the nervous system and extracting toxins from the body. They’re commonly purchased at any pharmacy and are effective when added to a hot bath. Add 2 cups of the salt to your tub and soak for 20 minutes. The salts will do their magic while the heat will help reduce inflammation and increase blood circulation.
8. Yoga and Mild Stretches
When you’re in pain the last thing you want to do is move, however when you’re inactive the condition gets aggravated. Exercise can increase your blood flow, strengthen you muscles and improve your mobility. The journal of Pain reports that regular yoga practice can reduce pain by 64% and disability by 77%. It is recommended that you choose a gentle form. The improved flexibility and poses employed help you position yourself in ways that don’t aggravate the sciatica. If you don’t want to take a class here are some exercises you can try at home to improve your sciatica.
|h/t: healthyandnaturalworld, prevention|