Suffering from Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Sciatic nerve pain is a nerve pain that starts in the lower spine and can extend down the length of either, or both legs all the way to the feet, can range from a dull “uncomfortable” pain, to a deep and “sharp” pain.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a type of back pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. It’s characterized by pain, numbness or tingling sensations that travel down the leg from the lower back. Which raises the question: how does one relieve sciatic nerve pain?
Many people are likely to deal with some form of back pain at some point in their lives. Sciatica, is not your regular back pain, it’s a pain that may require more drastic options, and may escalate to needing surgery, but before you consider something so drastic, you may want to consider a more natural alternative. There are other less-invasive ways to relieve the pain.
The obvious place to start would be with your musculoskeletal system and the bones most closely connected to your nerves likely to be causing the pressure on your sciatic nerve. There are numerous spinal problems that can be responsible for sciatic nerve pain. Ruptured or herniated discs are often the culprits, with some types causing more pain than others. In order to determine the best course of treatment Chiropractors have to know exactly what type of injury they’re dealing with. To determine this, they may start with a physical exam, and possibly X-rays or an MRI test.
Once the condition has been properly identified and diagnosed, the Chiropractor can then develop a treatment plan that will likely include a “manipulative technique” to realign the discs, targeting the exact source of the pain.
When is your sciatic pain at its worst? Likely when you’ve been moving in certain ways that aggravated the pressure on the nerve. For some that is excessive sitting or standing for extended periods of time followed by sudden movement. Motions that involve shortening your spine are known to cause pain. Likewise, movements that lengthen the spine and improve posture can relieve your sciatic pain and reduce inflammation, stiffness and pain.
Stretching exercises such as yoga are particularly effective at relieving sciatica. Rehabilitation clinics and centres regularly employ similar types of exercise to strengthen the core and extend the spine.
“Motion Is Lotion”
One of the worst things you can do if you suffer from Sciatica, is to spend too much time sitting. Here at the Downtown Wellness Centre we have a saying: “Motion Is Lotion”. You would never consider leaving your car parked for excessive amounts of time and expect it to run perfectly months later. Your car needs to run to keep all the moving parts lubricated. Inactivity is the same for your body. Your body needs to be moving.
Treatment plans often call for more movement and specific exercises to target areas affected by inflammation. This can seem difficult if you have a desk job. Fortunately, there are exercises you can do from a sitting position that will help relieve sciatic pain, while strengthening the muscles in your core.
Walking as much as possible will be beneficial to relieving sciatic pain. Try scheduling short walks, and consider investing in a pedometer to help keep track of your progress as you try take more and more steps each day.
Stress, advanced age, obesity, excessive sitting, smoking, prolonged exposure to repetitive vehicular vibration, and being tall may all contribute to an increased risk for developing sciatica. These factors individually, and collectively contribute to inflammation which increases pain and reduces the body’s ability to heal from injuries.
Regular exercise, eating nutrient dense foods, sleeping well and avoiding smoking will all reduce inflammation.
Just Add Heat
Applying heat to the affected area is an effective method of relief that works well for many with sciatica. You can find out if this works for you by simply taking a warm bath when experiencing sciatic pain. This should loosen your muscles, increase circulation, and provide relief. For a less time consuming option, you could purchase an inexpensive heating pad that fits on your lower back for 15-20 minutes at a time. You can repeat this every two or three hours each day as needed.
If heat is not effective for your sciatic pain, you may consider the opposite: cold. Cold therapy has been very effective for some who suffer from sciatic pain. You could experiment with an ice pack for 10-15 minutes and see if it works for you. If neither heat nor cold works for you, most Doctors could recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever for intense pain.
Everybody is different. What works for one person, may not work for another, and vice versa. In addition, varying treatments may have varying results and effectiveness for you personally. Which method will work best for you often depends on what is pinching the nerve, and where the pinch is. Natural treatments have an advantage over surgery in that they carry far less risk of adverse side effects. Hence trying these different approaches individually, and in combination, offer an easy and affordable way to relieve sciatic pain without the commitment, cost, or recovery of surgery.
If you’re suffering from Sciatica, speak to us, we are here to help.