The compression of a spinal nerve or a pinched nerve in the lower back is the cause for sciatic pain. The sciatic nerve runs from the top of the leg down to the foot. Sciatic pain affects not only the back but the hip and outer side of the leg. Pain in the leg can be much worse than the back; it can be excruciating at times. A herniated disk is the most common cause of sciatica.
Sciatic pain can be so excruciating where you feel like no treatment will help you, but there are several ways you can handle your sciatic pain.
Most people’s first instinct after experiencing pain in a certain area is to avoid using it. This is not a good remedy for sciatic pain. Avoiding the pain will likely increase the amount of irritation and inflammation in the area. Moving around and staying physically active increases blood flow to the nerve and disc, reducing the inflammation. Light exercise like walking is helpful. Swimming or other low impact exercises in a pool may be easier for sufferers that experience pain when walking.
Yoga is another form of exercise that can relieve sciatic pain. It is a gentle exercise and very effective for increasing flexibility and strength. Practicing yoga regularly can help sciatic patients to become more limber. It will ease movement and allow you to avoid positions that may cause sciatic pain to flare up. Yoga is known to effectively relieve chronic back pain for people with similar conditions.
Pain Relievers and Muscle Relaxants
There will be moments of sciatic pain where you are unable to do any activity or visit a health care provider for treatment. There are several pain medications that can temporarily relieve your pain during these times. Some you can purchase over-the-counter like ibuprofen. Physicians may also prescribe muscle relaxants for spasms. These medications only mask the problem, they don’t address the issue.
Many patients who aren’t able to find relief may benefit from chiropractic treatment. Numerous studies have shown chiropractic treatment to be as effective for sciatica pain relief as surgery. This type of treatment relieves pain and reduces inflammation. It also promotes the body’s natural response to injuries. Those patients that receive chiropractic treatment can benefit from long-lasting pain relief, up to a year or longer depending on their commitment.
Another approach to ease the sciatic pain is acupuncture. This method can relieve symptoms almost immediately after the first session. This is temporary though and it will take as many as 12 sessions to really experience a significant improvement. The needles used during acupuncture can be heated before placement; this approach is helpful for some patients. A small percentage of patients are fortunate enough to get complete relief from pain and other symptoms with acupuncture.
If you experience pain with weakness, numbness, and loss of bowel or bladder function, you should seek treatment immediately. Maintaining flexibility is helpful for preventing conditions like sciatica. Exercising in general will help with flexibility and strong core muscles. Your core plays a big role in the stability of your spine. A stable spine will reduce the risk of sciatica and similar injuries.