Most people are familiar with sciatica, which is low back pain that radiates down the left or right buttock, into the knee, and sometimes to the foot. The pain can be excruciating in some cases, and despite popular belief, sciatica usually goes away within three months with conservative care. Non-invasive treatments that can be performed in the safety of your own home are referred to as “conservative therapy.”
The seven at-home sciatica therapies listed below are good options for people who have recently started experiencing sciatic nerve pain or whose pain isn’t severe. Still, we recommend getting your medical professional’s approval before trying any of them. You should see a medical professional if you’ve had sciatica for a few weeks or have debilitating low back and leg pain.
Although it might seem counterintuitive to exercise when you’re in pain, studies show that relaxing too much will exacerbate your back and leg symptoms. Instead, to relieve your sciatica, integrate gentle exercise into your daily routine. Gentleness is the key: Painful or strenuous exercise should be avoided. A walk around the block is an excellent example of physical activity that keeps your spine healthy while causing no unnecessary harm. Movement causes the release of endorphins, which reduces the perception of pain in addition to strengthening your spine (e.g., core workouts, a stronger spine better defends against pain).
Ice Packs and Heat Pads
Sciatic nerve pain can be eased quickly by alternating heat and ice therapy. Heat encourages blood flow to the sore region, while ice reduces inflammation (which speeds healing). Sciatica is also accompanied by intense muscle spasms, which can be relieved with heat and ice. Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes every hour to the sore place, then heat for 15 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. When using heat or ice therapy, always use a barrier (such as a towel) to cover your skin, and never sleep while doing so.
Gentle stretching should be a part of your everyday routine. Stretching is a great way to increase spinal flexibility and range of motion while also strengthening the heart and back. Also, most stretches are easy enough to do when watching the news or a movie. Spinal Decompression in Bradenton is also used to increase your spine’s flexibility.
Stretching and strengthening exercises can help alleviate tension in your lower back. Exercise also aids in the healing of soft tissues, enhances the nervous system’s function, and can reduce pain sensitivity. Techniques for relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve roots and strengthening the lower back, abdomen, and legs are used in sciatica exercises.
Warming up and loosening rigid tissues with infrared or heat therapy before an exercise is helpful. After the workout, you should relieve any discomfort or soreness with an ice pack. When you have chronic or flaring sciatica symptoms, simple stretches may be performed at home or work. Often exercise inside your comfort zone, starting with 2 to 3 repetitions and gradually increasing to 5.
Adjust your posture.
If you remain in the same place for too long, whether you’re working at your desk or relaxing at home, your sciatica pain can worsen. Changing your posture every 20 minutes and maintaining proper posture will help relieve pressure on your spine and alleviate sciatica symptoms.
Applying Topical Pain Relievers
Pain-relieving and numbing medicine in topical gels, creams, or patches may provide fast and easy pain relief.
2 These drugs get into the tissues and function on a regional basis. They’re less likely to cause side effects, which means they’re less likely to generate long-term issues.
Topical medications are widely available over the counter and contain preparations of:
- Methyl salicylate is a form of salicylate.
- Salicylate of trolamine
- Capsaicin is a hot pepper spice.
More than one medicine can be mixed in specific preparations. Avoid applying a heat patch or an ice pack to the affected region when using the topical medication. The effects of topical pain killers can be reduced or altered when all treatments are used together.
Painkillers Available Over-the-Counter
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter medicines that can help alleviate sciatica symptoms. As opposed to acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs can be a safer choice since they relieve both inflammation and pain. However, NSAIDs have health risks that you should be aware of before using them, so talk to your medical professional about them first. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin (Ecotrin), and naproxen are examples of OTC NSAIDs (Aleve).
Wear a Hip Brace
Intermittently and for brief periods, braces worn over your lower back will help strengthen and protect the lumbar tissues. Lumbar braces help alleviate nerve root pain by limiting unnecessary spinal movement. 4 Certain types of braces can also help alleviate radiating pain in the groin area by providing extra support.
Lumbar braces or belts worn under your clothes can be bought online or at drug stores. For proper support, a belt should be flexible, fit correctly, be made of breathable material, and have an anti-slip design.
When Your Sciatica Needs a medical professional’s Visit
It’s important to know when at-home remedies aren’t working to alleviate sciatica. If these therapies don’t work, it’s time to see your primary care physician or a spine specialist.
For several factors, people stop going to medical professionals. Perhaps you’re uncertain how to use your health insurance or don’t have any at all. Maybe you despise going to the doctor and believe that ignorance is bliss.
Regardless of the cause, specific sciatica symptoms need medical treatment. Delaying medical treatment can result in or cause permanent nerve damage in rare cases.
Please see your medical professional as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- The low back and legs are in excruciating pain.
- You have nerve-related symptoms like fatigue, numbness, tingling, or pain that feels like an electric shock
- The discomfort persists after two weeks
- And by using at-home therapies, the pain gets worse.
- You’ve lost control of your bowels and bladder
Managing the debilitating discomfort of sciatica doesn’t necessarily necessitate a drastic care plan. Using gentle exercise, ice and heat therapy, proper posture, and medication to alleviate sciatic nerve pain at home can help you heal faster. The most important thing you can do for your low back and leg pain takes it seriously; if you don’t get relief, call Synergy Medical. We are here to help!