Sciatica -low back pain that radiates downward into the left or right buttock into the leg and sometimes all the way into the foot. In some cases, the pain can be excruciating, and while it may be hard to believe, sciatica often goes away within 3 months with conservative treatment. That “conservative treatment” referred to here are non-invasive therapies that can be done in the comfort of your own home.

The 5 at-home sciatica treatments below are good options for people who recently started experiencing sciatic nerve pain or whose pain is not severe. But before going forward we always urge that you get your doctor’s approval before trying any of these at-home treatments. 

If you’ve been dealing with sciatica for a few weeks or have debilitating low back and leg pain, you should see your doctor or spine and nerve specialist.

Sciatica At-home Tip #1: It’s OK to Exercise

It may feel unnatural to exercise when you’re in pain, but research suggests that resting too much can aggravate your back and leg symptoms. Instead, incorporate gentle exercise into your day to ease your sciatica. The key is gentle: Exercise should not be painful or strenuous.

A walk around the block (yes, I know it’s not at home, but it’s close enough) is a great example of physical activity that keeps your spine strong without doing any additional damage. 

In addition to making your spine stronger (eg, core exercises like planks; a stronger spine better protects against pain), exercise triggers the release of endorphins to reduce your perception of pain.

Sciatica At-home Tip #2: Stretch It Out

Incorporate gentle stretching into your daily routine. Stretching is an excellent way to improve your spinal flexibility and range of motion while also building core and spinal strength. Plus, most stretches are simple enough to be done while watching the news or your favorite movie.

Here are some of our favorite gentle stretches that can help with sciatic nerve pain relief.

Reclined Pigeon Pose

  1. Lay on your back with one foot flat on the floor, your knee pointed up.
  2. Cross your other leg’s ankle over the knee
  3. Reach forward—bringing your upper back off the floor if need be—and grab your shin with both hands
  4. Pull your legs toward your chest
  5. Hold for at least five breaths and release
  6. Repeat three to five times

 

Supine Twist

Supine Spinal Twist Pose I, Prasarita Merudandasana, Jathara Parivrtti, Supta Parivartanasana, Belly Twist, Reclined Spinal Twist Pose. Beautiful girl practice Supta Matsyendrasana I. Young attractive woman practicing yoga exercise. working out, black wearing sportswear, grey pants and top, indoor full length, calmness and relax.

  1. Lay on your back and bring your knees toward your chest, as high as feels comfortable
  2. Spread your arms
  3. Lower both legs to one side; turn your head in the opposite direction
  4. Hold for at least five breaths
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side
  6. Repeat both sides three to five times

 

Seated Forward Bend

  1. Sit up straight with your legs stretched out in front of you, feet flexed
  2. Inhale and bring your arms up over your head
  3. Exhale and reach your fingers toward your toes and your chest toward your thighs
  4. Hold for at least five breaths and release
  5. Repeat three to five times

 

Cat-Cow Stretches

  1. Begin on all fours with your spine neutral. 
  2. Inhale and arch your back then move your stomach toward the floor.
  3. Exhale and come through neutral until your back is bowed with your upper back reaching for the ceiling
  4. Come back to neutral
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times

 

Bird-dogs

  1. Begin on all fours with your spine neutral
  2. Inhale as you straighten and raise an opposing arm and leg (your left is pointing forward and your right foot is pointing backward, or vice versa)
  3. Hold for at least five breaths
  4. Return to neutral and repeat with the other arm and leg
  5. Repeat three to five times

 

Sciatica At-home Tip #3: Grab the Ice Pack and Heating Pad

Alternating heat and ice therapy can provide immediate relief of sciatic nerve pain. Ice can help reduce inflammation, while heat encourages blood flow to the painful area (which speeds healing). Heat and ice may also help ease painful muscle spasms that often accompany sciatica. Apply an ice pack to the painful area for 15 minutes once every hour, and then apply heat for 15 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Remember to always use a barrier (like a towel) to protect your skin when using heat or ice, and never sleep while using heat or ice therapy.

 

Sciatica At-home Tip #4: Refresh Your Posture

Whether you are working at your desk or relaxing at home, if you stay in the same position for too long, you might find that your sciatica pain spikes. Varying your posture every 20 minutes and using proper posture can help take pressure off your spine and reduce your sciatica symptoms.

 

Sciatica At-home Tip #5: Head to the Medicine Cabinet

Over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help ease sciatica symptoms when they strike. NSAIDs can be a good option because they relieve both inflammation and pain, unlike acetaminophen (Tylenol) that only reduces pain.

 

However, NSAIDs bear health risks you should understand before using them, so make sure to discuss their safety with your doctor first. Examples of OTC NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin (Ecotrin), and naproxen (Aleve).

 

When Your Sciatica Warrants a Visit to Your Doctor

The most important thing you can do for your low back and leg pain is to take it seriously! 

It’s important to recognize when at-home therapies aren’t easing your sciatica. If these treatments don’t help you, it may be time to see your personal doctor or spine specialist.

People avoid the doctor for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re unsure about how to use your health insurance or you don’t have any. Or perhaps you simply don’t like visiting the doctor and prefer an “ignorance-is-bliss” approach.

Whatever the reason, some sciatica symptoms are truly medical emergencies. In rare cases, delaying medical care could lead to or cause permanent nerve damage.

If you experience any of the following, please see your doctor as soon as possible:

  • You have severe pain in your low back and legs
  • You experience nerve-related symptoms, such as weakness, numbness, tingling, or electric shock-like pain
  • Your pain doesn’t improve after 2 weeks
  • Your pain gets worse, even when using at-home therapies
  • You have loss of bowel and/or bladder control

Easing the extreme pain of sciatica doesn’t always require an extreme treatment approach. Relieving sciatic nerve pain at a spine and nerve specialist can go a long way to speeding your recovery and getting you out of pain. 

SP&SS Can Help! 

Sciatica pain can become unbearable, but you have options at Southern Pain and Spine Specialists! 

Double board-certified Doctor Ammar Alamarie, and his team of specialists have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a full range of conditions, including Sciatica!

We offer comprehensive treatment options to treat your pain at the source without surgery!

So, if you’re ready to get out of pain, just Click Here to contact us online for more information and to set up your FREE consultation!

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