What Is Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Sciatica develops when certain nerves become pinched in the lower spine, running along the sciatic nerve. Intense pain is felt, as a result, which runs the entire length of the legs. The symptoms of sciatica are as follows:
– Extreme pain during sitting
– Difficulty standing or walking (because of the pain)
– Usually only one affected leg
– Tingling, burning, or searing sensation in the affected leg
– Pain also affects the foot and toes
– Pain causes weakness and disability for moving the affected leg, foot or toes
Sciatic nerve pain is usually caused by a slipped or herniated disc, spinal injury, spinal stenosis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, or piriformis syndrome. It can also occur during pregnancy, due to a re-arranging of organs and pressure on the spine.
10 Remedies For Sciatic Nerve Pain
There are so many alternative treatments out there, that surgery and over-the-counter drugs should be your last option. Here are 10 natural remedies that can alleviate sciatic nerve pain.
Warming acupuncture, in which needles are heated, has also shown to provide relief to people experiencing sciatica. In one study, it was found that within a group of 30 individuals, 57% of cases were cured, 33% improved and 10% failed – with a total effective rate of 90%!
2. Chiropractic Adjustments
As mentioned above, 60% of people with sciatica who didn’t get relief from other therapies and then tried spinal manipulation experienced the same amount of pain relief as patients who eventually had surgery. Chiropractic creates a response in the nervous system that relieves pain and shifts nerves and joints back into their proper position.
3. Hot and Cold Compresses
Alternating between a hot and cold compress can relax the nerve and muscles, while a the same time reducing pain and swelling, respectively. Always start with hot and then end with cold. For each treatment, hold the compress on for 15-20 minutes, and then switch. In around 1 hour you should start feeling relief.
Gentle yoga helped my sciatica tremendously. Yoga helps to strengthen muscles and improves flexibility – it prevents people from falling back into postures that aggravates the sciatic nerve pain. This study found that yoga therapy is safe, and beneficial for individuals with non-specific lower back pain, or sciatica (particularly those accompanied by disc extrusions and bulges).
5. Deep Tissue Massage
This is another method that I utilized to help rid myself of sciatic nerve pain. Trigger-point therapy is best. The sciatic nerve sits below a muscle called the piriformis, which is located just below the glutes. A tight piriformis muscle will pinch the sciatic nerve, and cause numbness and tingling down the leg. Scheduling massage treatments 10 days apart, and continuing for four visits should do the trick. If not, try another form of pain relief.
A major cause of sciatic nerve pain is inflammation – the whole reason why you experience the pain to begin with. Turmeric is a wonderful treatment for sciatica, plus when you consume it, you will reap a host of other health benefits. Mix 1 cup of coconut milk with 1 tsp. turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper. Heat and drink. The coconut and pepper help with the absorbability of turmeric compounds.
7. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek is another anti-inflammatory compound that helps relieve sciatic nerve pain. Grind a handful of fenugreek seeds and boil the powder in water to create a mushy paste. Apply the paste on the affected area and leave it on for a few hours, and rinse. Repeat until you get the results you desire. Alternatively, add fenugreek to your diet and reap the benefits that way, too!
8. Physical Activity
Becoming active is important if you experience sciatic nerve pain. Sitting in bed all day will just make the pain worse. Performing daily activity will strengthen your core muscles, and improve your posture (by avoiding the sitting position). Practicing targeted exercises for your pain, and performing certain stretches will help loosen up inflamed areas.
9. Arnica Cream
Arnica was one cream I used during my sciatic nerve pain bout, and it helped tremendously. Arnica helps improve circulation to the area, and speeds the healing of bruises, sprains, and various injuries to the muscles and bone. I think arnica mostly helped with relieving tension in the muscle that was surrounding the sciatic nerve, more than anything.
10. Devil’s Claw
This crazy looking herb is just as powerful and useful as ibuprofen for pain relief. People with sciatica should aim for 1,500 to 2,000 mg twice a day. Look for brands that contain around 50 mg of harpagoside, the active compound in Devil’s Claw. Avoid using if you are on blood-thinning medications or have peptic ulcers.