An astounding number of people will experience sciatica pain at some point in their lives, with some experts estimating that number is at least 40% of people.
This radiating pain can be excruciating, making it difficult to carry on with your normal life and responsibilities.
If you’re experiencing this type of pain, there are ways you can help relieve it.
Let’s take a look at six ways to relieve sciatic nerve pain.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is unlike other types of back pain. This is because the pain will often radiate along the path that the sciatic nerve follows. The sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in your body.
The path that the sciatic nerve takes branches down from your lower back, travels through your hips and buttocks, and goes down each leg. Normally, but not always, sciatica will impact just one side of your body.
The most common cause of sciatica pain is when part of the nerve is compressed by a narrowing of the spine or bone spur on the spine, or a herniated disc. The affected leg normally experiences pain, inflammation, and oftentimes also some numbness.
Sciatica pain can be incredibly severe. However, most of the time it resolves itself without any operative treatment.
People who might be candidates for surgery as a result of sciatica might also have bowel or bladder changes or significant weakness in their legs.
The type of pain you feel when you have sciatic nerve pain can vary greatly. It can be a sharp, burning sensation, a mild ache, or even excruciating pain. Some people have describe their experience with it as like an electric shock or a jolt.
1. Eat Well to Reduce Inflammation
If you want to help relieve sciatica nerve pain, reducing inflammation can help. This is because the pain you feel is typically caused by the sciatic nerve becoming inflamed.
In order to reduce inflammation, you can follow an anti-inflammatory diet. This means that you’ll want to eat certain foods and avoid others.
Foods that you’ll want to avoid include refined carbohydrates, sugars, hydrogenated oils, and trans fats. You’ll also want to avoid smoking, as this can be inflammatory and can reduce anti-inflammatory molecules in your body.
Your diet should be rich in natural foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fatty fish, nuts, and insoluble and soluble fiber. There are a number of other substances that are potently anti-inflammatory, such as green tea, black tea, curcumin (turmeric), and ginger.
If you’re going to be making big dietary changes, it’s best to talk to your doctor first. They can make sure that your planned diet isn’t going to have negative interactions or interfere with the medication you’re taking.
There are a lot of different types of massage you can try if you’re looking for natural ways to relieve sciatic nerve pain. These include schools of massage like Shiatsu, myofascial release, neuromuscular massage, hot stone massage, Swedish massage, and deep tissue massage.
When you get a massage, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that can help reduce your perception of pain. It can also soothe your sore spinal muscles and improve your blood circulation. On top of that, it can help you relax.
3. Mind-Body Techniques
There are a number of different mind-body exercises to relieve sciatica nerve pain. These can include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Guided imagery
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
These techniques have also been found to help reduce depression and anxiety, which often comes hand in hand with chronic pain.
4. Home Remedies
No one wants to take pain medication all the time. Instead of heading for the ibuprofen, consider trying some of these home remedies.
One thing you can do is drink two or three cups of tea made out of chamomile or valerian. This can help get your muscles to stop spasming.
If taking a warm bath sounds nice right about now, throw in some Epsom salts and apple cider vinegar.
You can also make a concoction by mixing equal amounts of either coconut oil or olive oil with ginger essential oil.
Look online or head to your local health food store for a cream made out of at least 0.025% capsaicin. This can be rubbed right on the affected area.
Another option is using cold and hot compresses alternatively on your lower back.
5. Yoga or Stretching
It’s important to note that if you’re experiencing sciatica pain, don’t do anything that makes your pain feel worse. Yes, this even applies to yoga and stretching.
If you’re feeling up to it, though, learning some yoga moves can be a great way to relieve sciatica pain. Consider learning poses such as pigeon pose, pigeon on a chair, or cobra.
6. Flexion Distraction
The chiropractic technique known as flexion distraction is a gentle alternative to the medical procedures your doctor might suggest. Through taking the pressure off of your lumbar spine, this can be a huge help if you suffer from herniations or disc bulges.
These Are Only Some of the Ways to Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain
If you’re not finding that any of these techniques are working for you, don’t worry. There are a lot of different things you can try to relieve sciatic nerve pain, everything from doing foam-roller exercises to a long list of stretches and alternative medicine substances. Did you find this article full of ways to relieve sciatic nerve pain helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative and interesting content!