Sciatic Nerve Pain (Pinched Nerve)
So what is sciatica? It is a condition that results from irritation of the sciatic nerve which usually leads to a horrible shooting pain felt around the area localized at the affected side of the bottom or thigh.
A feeling of pinched nerve in lower back can be due to sciatica. “Pinched nerve” refers to the compression of a peripheral nerve which can happen with sciatic nerve damage. Pinched nerve in back may be minor or severe. The earlier the treatment, the quicker is relief.
Pinched nerve lower back can also result from other causes like tearing or weakening of spinal disc.
Where Is The Sciatic Nerve Located
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that starts from the lower back down the back of each leg as can be seen in the image above.
For some, sciatic pain is a mild burn. For others, it’s either a sharp sensation or mild prickliness.
Either way, the onset of sciatic nerve pain symptoms can be really uncomfortable that in turn causes a great deal of stress and distraction to a great day.
The pain can be easily aggravated when sitting or standing, which makes it a huge problem for active individuals who do not have the leisure of spending time lying down and taking a long day of body rest.
Usual symptoms of sciatica include low back pain, sciatica hip pain, leg pain, numbness of the leg or foot, and constant one-sided rear pain. Below are what causes sciatica.
There are several possible causes of sciatica. In fact, sciatica nerve pain can be due to pregnancy, muscle strain, scar tissue, spinal tumor, infection, ankylosing spondylitis, fracture and medical disorders of the lower back.
Sciatica during pregnancy happens when the growing baby causes pressure against the sciatic nerve located in the pelvis. Sciatica pregnancy is a bit more concerning in comparison to simple low back pain.
Below will be discussed ways on how to relieve sciatica pain.
Sciatica Pain Relief Treatment Methods, Remedies and Exercises
Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable sciatica treatment options, remedies and exercises to alleviate the pain, allowing you to go about your day.
With a good background about the condition and a bit of understanding on what causes sciatic nerve pain, let us now proceed identifying ways on how to relieve sciatic pain!
1. Sciatic nerve pain relief with OTC medications
Taking some generic over-the-counter medications can help alleviate your pain.
If your pain is pretty mild, your standard paracetamol or ibuprofen may do the trick just fine.
2. Sciatic nerve relief with hot & cold therapy
Hot or cold packs are a good way to reduce discomfort from sciatica.
Get a cold pack (a bag of frozen peas or a plastic bag full of ice will do) and apply it to the sore area several times a day for 20 minutes at a time.
This is known to help reduce the pain in the area.
3. Gentle Sciatic Nerve Stretches
A little careful, gentle stretching every day will also help with sciatica. Stretches for sciatica can loosen muscles that may be causing a pinched sciatic nerve.
Knowing that the leisure time of lying down and letting your body rest may be vital to the individual, it’s also however significant to consider that prolonged bed rest may actually aggravate the pain problem.
To truly help with your discomfort, it is important to perform sciatic nerve stretch of your muscles and do a little walking every day to help make your back stronger, and therefore less prone to the chronic ache of sciatica.
You may perform it along with sciatic nerve pain exercises.
4. Chiropractic therapy for sciatica relief.
If you’re not sure if you need surgery just yet, you may want to try chiropractic as a form of therapy.
It also consists stretches along with the application of pressure to the spine which may help restore mobility on the area, reduce inflammation and achieve relief of sciatic nerve symptoms.
5. Yoga Sciatica Stretches
Sone enjoyable benefits of applicable yoga is pain management and stretching.
The gentle sciatica stretch to improve increasing mobility and flexibility with the practice of yoga can improve your posture and aid in lumbar strength so your sciatica doesn’t worsen.
6. How to treat sciatica using capsaicin
Curious about alternative methods? Try an over the counter capsaicin plaster or cream!
There are plasters and creams available in the market that can serve for sciatica treatments. They contain the active compound found in peppers — capsaicin — known for producing the numbing effect on your tongue when taken a strong pinch of cayenne.
The compound can produce a similar effect when applied topically, because of how it keeps substances which release the pain from your nerves in the area where it’s applied.
7. How to relieve sciatic nerve pain via massage
Get special massages for your sciatica.
No, not the very relaxed spa ones that you may have in mind—this may be a bit more rigorous, but it will be of much more help.
With Trigger-point therapy, which is done by specialists, pressure is applied to the glutes and lower back, the common aching areas in most individuals suffering from sciatica.
This massage therapy can help with the tingling and numbness that many experience from a pinched sciatic nerve.
8. Sciatica Exercises
Physical therapy for sciatica can be very effective most of the time. Exercises for sciatica can be the most accessible solution to reduce the discomfort.
If mild sciatica exercise doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, physiotherapy, which will involve a series of specialized exercises made to strengthen your back, increase flexibility and improve your posture, will go a long way towards helping you improve your lumbar health and gradually reduce your sciatic nerve pain, making it a good option for those who chronically suffer from sciatica.
Along with performing an exercise for sciatica, consider physiotherapy as a possible long-term approach to manage your sciatica.
It will also help you identify possible sources of the underlying strain on your back and posture so you can avoid them in the future.
- Matt Fernandez, Jan Hartvigsen, Manuela L Ferreira, Kathryn M Refshauge, Aryane F Machado, Ítalo R Lemes, Chris G Maher, & Paulo H Ferreira (2015). Advice to Stay Active or Structured Exercise in the Management of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
- R Attalla Hanan PhD & H Soliman Gehan (2015). The effectiveness of the proposed range-of-motion program on reducing sciatic pain.
9. Sciatic nerve treatment involving spinal injections
For some cases, spinal injections may be deemed necessary. Consult your doctor to be absolutely certain.
Sciatic nerve pain treatment can be achieved with the use of corticosteroids for the spine which will take away pain if other methods aren’t working.
Sending anti-inflammatory agents straight to your sciatic nerve is a quick fix to your sciatica, immediately reducing the pressure in the area and creating a temporary reduction in pain.
- Bastiaan C. ter Meulen, Esther T. Maas, Amrita Vyas, Marinus van der Vegt, Koo de Priester, Michiel R. de Boer, Maurits W. van Tulder, Henry C. Weinstein, & Raymond W. J. G. Ostelo (2017). Treatment of acute sciatica with transforaminal epidural corticosteroids and local anesthetic: design of a randomized controlled trial.
10. Surgery as a treatment for sciatica
If your case is associated to any specific medical condition such as slipped disk, sciatica surgery may be needed.
While surgery is rarely—if at all—necessary option to treat sciatica, but if the pain is coming from an identifiable spinal medical disorder, it may be the best way to solve the problem.
Example procedures would include undergoing laminectomy, which involves fusing the vertebrae that has slipped out of place, a cause of pressure in the area—hence the development of chronic pain.
It could also be a procedure where part of an herniated disc that presses on the sciatic nerve is removed. This has been a popular surgical procedure among patients. It’s called discectomy.
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