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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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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Southern Pain and Spine Specialists
101 East Matthews Street
Matthews, NC 28105
105 Waxhaw Professional Drive
Waxhaw NC 28173
Monday – Friday
8:00am – 5:00pm
By Appointment Only