Sciatica should never be confused with back pain. Sufferers feel pain in their back, hips and legs, because the sciatic nerves goes all the way from the back to the feet.
You can actually relieve the pain using several natural remedies. The sciatic nerve regulates the movement of the muscles in your thighs and legs, and the pain can be really debilitating.
Sufferers deal with mild swelling, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling sensation alongside the nerve, which affects their ability to walk or stand. This issue is more common in people aged between 30 and 50, and the pain may be severe and debilitating.
Signs and symptoms
Sciatica is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Burning and tingling sensation in the leg
- Shooting pain that affects your standing and sitting
- Numbness and weakness in the leg
Causes of sciatica
Herniated or slipped disc is the most common issue. The discs create a cushion between the spinal vertebrae and keeps them arranged. These discs degenerate as you get old, and the fluid leaks out. The discs become thin and hard, causing stress and pain.
A weakened intervertebral disc tends to slip from its position, and adds pressure to the sciatic nerve fibers. Slipped disk is caused by spinal injury, trauma and long sitting hours.
Here are the most common causes:
- Spinal injury or infection
- Degenerative disc disease
- Development of bone spurs or bone overgrowths on your vertebrae
- Spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
- Piriformis syndrome
- Pelvic injury or fracture
Sciatica affects those who lift heavy load or sit too long. The following factors may also worsen your condition:
- Tough work, strenuous workout, lifting, bending, twisting
- Long-driving hours
- Sedentary lifestyle
Treating sciatica pain
You can do sciatica exercises to strengthen your spine and the surrounding muscles and tendons. First, your doctor will check out your symptoms, and you will be given further advice and recommendations.
- Sciatica sufferers need to change their sedentary lifestyle
- Make sure you are comfortable during every activity, and alternate between lying down and walking. Spending the entire day in bed will worsen your situation
- Use a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes 2-3 hours a day. Warm showers work well, too.
- Cold compresses are also efficient. Hold one on your sore spot for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours.
- Your doctor will probably give you ibuprofen, aspirin and muscle relaxants. Try not to become dependent on these drugs. Long-term use of medication will disrupt your system.
- If your symptoms don’t disappear, you may be advised to try physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, yoga or a combination of these therapies
- If you don’t notice an improvement, you will be advised to receive epidural injections and even surgical intervention
- Keep your body in an upright posture. If you stand for too long, you should rest one foot on a stool at regular intervals
- Focus on your abdomen and lower back by doing a few exercises. Aerobic fitness is a must.
- If you have to lift heavy objects, exert maximum pressure on your legs. Hold the objects close to you, and bend your knees. Don’t forget to keep you back straight.
- Ergonomic furniture will help you even more. It comes with armrest and a swivel base.
- Stop smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Look for a mattress that’s not too hard or too soft.
When to see a doctor
- If the pain affects both your legs at the same time
- Sudden pain affects your lower back or leg, and you also deal with numbness or muscle weakness in your legs
- The pain occurs after a serious injury
- You can’t control your bowel or bladder
- You have redness or swelling in your back area
- You have fever and back pain
- Your pain gets worse as you lie down
- You have a burning sensation while urinating or have blood in your urine
- The pain doesn’t disappear after a proper treatment
Relieve the pain naturally
1. Hot and cold compresses
Hot and cold treatment works really well in this case. Alternate between each therapy. Keep a hot compress on the sore spot for 15-20 minutes. Do the same with the cold treatment. Repeat every few hours.
2. Low back massage
Massaging your sore spot will relieve your lower back pain. A 2014 study showed that deep tissue massage is as effective as NSAIDs. The massage will relieve the tension and improve your circulation. Massage the affected spot with St. John’s wort oil 2-3 times a day.
You can also add 3 tablespoons of nutmeg powder to a cup of sesame oil. Heat up the mixture, and apply it on the affected area once it cools down. Do this several times a day for a few weeks.
Trigger-point massage therapy is really helpful.
The Knee to Chest Stretch will reduce the irritation of the nerve and will boost your flexibility.
Lie on your back and keep your feet straight and open. Relax your upper body, and bend your knees upwards. Inhale. Clasp your hands behind your thighs, and bring it towards the chest.
Keep your other leg flat on the yoga mat. Hold your body in this position for 20 seconds with controlled deep breaths and lower your leg carefully. Switch legs. Do 3-5 reps.
Spinal rolling, knees rocking, floor twists, backblock, back extensions, sciatic-mobilizing stretches and yoga are also helpful.
Use a teaspoon of turmeric powder to every cup of milk. Add cinnamon for added effect. Boil your milk, and add honey for some sweetness. Drink this once or twice a day.
Take 250-500mg turmeric three times a day for a few weeks, but don’t forget to consult your doctor first.
Avoid it if you take blood thinners or diabetes medications. The same applies to those dealing with gallstones.
5. Use capsaicin cream
Capsaicin is a natural pain reliever. It depletes the levels of a neurotransmitter called substance P which transports pain signals. A 2011 study confirms that capsaicin creams relieve pain.
Use creams with 0.025 to 0.075 percent capsaicin.
Apply it on your sore spots 4 times a day for a week. Don’t apply this on broken skin as it may cause burning
Stimulate acupuncture points to trigger the release of chemicals that either change the perception of pain or relieve your pain.
7. Spinal manipulation
Chiropractic care is really popular in the treatment of neck and back pain. Chiropractics can do wonders for your body. This treatment may be as effective as surgeries.
8. Yoga and stretching
Stretching and yoga can lengthen your spine and reduce your stiffness, inflammation and pain.
Yoga relieves the pain and treats your condition. Focus on your back muscles to relax your stiffness.
- Avoid sudden twists
- Stick to a good body posture to relieve your lower back pain
- Keep your back straight and knees bent when lifting
- Sleep on good mattress
- Workout often
- Avoid smoking
- Devil’s claw 1,500 to 2,000 mg twice a day) and other herbal remedies can help you to
- Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium are good for you
- Surgery is a final resort