Is there anything I can do at home to get relief for sciatica pain?
Unless you have experienced the kind of pain that is always there and never seems to go away, it’s hard to understand just how much it can affect you. When something irritates or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, this type of constant pain can be the result. Usually starting in the hip region, the pain radiates all along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down past the knee. Sensations are often described as shooting pain alternating with numbness and tingling that feels like “pins and needles”, especially in the feet and toes.
Sometimes sciatica pain is less in the morning and other times it’s present all night and simply continues the next day. There can be a feeling of weakness in the leg, which combined with the pain can discourage exercise. This can be the beginning of a vicious cycle. Light exercise, combined with over-the-counter pain medications and hot and cold packs are recommended in the beginning. Without the exercise, what may be a mild case can continue to get worse, requiring more extensive treatment, like more heavy-duty painkillers, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, long term psychological pain management and even surgery.
There are things that can be done at home to help relieve the pain. When muscles around the sciatic nerve become tight, they cause extra pressure. Stretching and releasing some of the tension can go a long way in reducing and even eliminating the pain.
Manage Sciatica Pain with These Simple Techniques
Some common techniques that you can try are:
- Foam-Roller Exercises – use a foam roller under the thighs, along your outer thigh and calf muscle and, while lying on your stomach, along the top of the thighs from the hip to the knee. Try rolling each section for one minute.
- Piriformis Stretch – stretch out the piriformis muscle by lying on your back, knees bent and crossing your right ankle over you left knee. Pull the left leg toward your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Do this twice.
- Hip-Flexor Stretch –kneel on one knee with your hip behind your knee and your back straight and then move your body forward until stretch is felt in upper thigh. Hold for 30 seconds for each leg.
- Arm and Leg Lift – while on all fours with back straight and abdominal muscles engaged, lift opposite arm and leg. Hold five seconds. Alternate arms and legs and repeat for up to two minutes.
Whenever anything like an exercise program or special diet is suggested as treatment for an illness or condition, it is always recommended that you consult with your physician before beginning. While most doctors will be onboard with additional exercise, there can always be situations that are the exception.
Even though there are a variety of treatment options that can be very successful with sciatica pain, prevention is always the best option. Common sense can go a long way in avoiding this painful condition. Monitor your posture while sitting or standing. Exercise regularly. Lift with your legs and not your lower back. For anyone who has ever experienced an inflamed and painful sciatic nerve, these few simple steps sound like the very least that can be done to prevent a reoccurrence!
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our physicians are committed to more than just treating your symptoms. We focus on finding the underlying cause and providing non-surgical, evidenced based solutions tailored to your specific condition and needs. If you have questions or are experiencing sciatica or any sort of lower back or leg pain, we invite you to schedule a consultation by simply calling (516) 268-0070 or using our convenient online form by clicking here.