The sciatic nerve proceeds through the buttocks, extends along the leg all the way to the toes. Those suffering from sciatic pain say that the pain seems to radiate through the hip along the thigh and at times is felt all the way down the front of the lower leg area. It's a tough pain to ignore, and can make sitting and sleeping very uncomfortable.
The pain is actually a symptom of an inflamed sciatic nerve which can be caused by a number of problems, including but not limited to pinched nerves, a slipped disc, or bad posture. The sciatic nerve may heal itself over a few weeks time but can take as long as several months.
Following are six of the best choices for relief of sciatica pain:*
Relaxing in a hot whirlpool tub or jacuzzi can promote circulation and relax the muscle tissue; this in turn reduces inflammation. The heat can also reduce muscle spasms and the motion of the water will gently massage your back.
2. Posture and Support
Sitting for significant amounts of time on an uneven or hard surface can easily aggravate your sciatic nerve. Make sure to use proper posture as well as support when sitting in one position for lengthy periods of time.
If you spend a lot of time sitting behind a desk, use a chair that tilts and adjusts your weight. You may want to invest in an ergonomic chair that can reduce stress and ease pressure in the lower back area. In addition, sleeping on a firm, cushioned mattress can help relieve sciatic pain also.
Acupuncture can help reduce muscles spasms and inflammation by increasing blood flow to the lower back area. It also helps relax the muscles and increases flexibility.
4. Exercise and Physical Therapy
Exercise and/or physical therapy have been proven to eliminate the pain and symptoms of sciatica in many cases. Low impact exercises like walking and water aerobics are great options for self-treatment. Physical therapy will take it a step further.
It can include a variety of techniques like massage and electro-therapies. These treatments are meant to reduce muscle spasms, pain and inflammation. Physical therapy also includes education and training to teach you proper movements and postures that can help you avoid future problems with your sciatic nerve.
Stretching promotes good support for the upper and lower back. Stretching exercises for sciatica are able to relieve tightness and relax the muscles in these areas. Proper stretching techniques are also an effective preventative measure.
6. Ice and Heat
At the first signs of a sciatic nerve problem, applying an ice pack can reduce the inflammation that is causing the pain. Applying heat will help increase the blood flow to the sore area, promote flexibility and reduce inflammation. Alternating between the two will provide positive results by reducing both pain and inflammation.
*This article is not intended to treat or diagnose any illness or condition. Always consult with a physician before beginning any self-care treatment or exercise program.