Most people have actually no idea of sciatica, so basically what is sciatica, what are sciatica symptoms, how to treat sciatica? Don’t worry, we are here to help you resolving these questions.
At some point of life, you will bear the pain of sciatica or might the irritation of sciatic nerve; what is the sciatic nerve? The sciatic nerve pain can come from either side of the lower spine and moves through buttocks and pelvis, after which the nerve moves along the back of upper leg which divides the knee into branches that then go to the feet. The sciatic nerve is the major nerve in the body which begins the nerve root in the lumbar spinal cord.
Sciatica can occur suddenly and can get worse while sneezing, coughing or sitting, when sciatica occurs, you might also feel weakness, numbness or tingling sensation down your legs, the less common sciatica nerve symptoms includes; you cannot move your foot and toes or will be unable to bend your knees. The pain of sciatica can differ from rare and frustrating to constant and unbearable.
There are 6 most common causes of sciatica which includes:
- Lumbar herniated disc; it causes pressure on a nerve root.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis; slippage of one vertebra, narrows the nerve that exits out the line.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis; when the spinal canal narrows with pressure on the nerves.
- Piriformis syndrome; happens when the muscle that lies in the buttocks becomes tight or spasm.
There are many sciatica treatments that are good for sciatica nerve relief but out of those, we have merged 15 highly effective solutions that can help in sciatic nerve pain treatment.
“Sciatica treatment is not always necessary because the condition itself improves in around six weeks or if you follow a strict diet and exercise daily, it will help in the sciatica pain relief.”
When the pain is caused by sciatica, it is good to consult a professional massage therapist that will give you a sciatica pain relief. The main goal of massage is to help movement and better healing which will help reducing the strictness of sciatica pain. Search for the experienced massage therapist who treats the sciatica patients and is highly specialized and also ensure that your massage therapist provides all sciatica nerve treatment including every muscle which supports the area of the back. The muscle includes:
- The glutes, which is a group of 4 muscles making up the buttocks.
- The psoas, a long and thin muscle along the lower spine.
- The quadrates, which is located in the lower back.
- The hamstring muscle, located in the thighs.
- The Piriformis, located in the upper leg.
You should maintain a good routine and take the benefits from the massage therapy after the session is over, some of the suggestions are:
- Try the ice massage.
- Make some lifestyle changes, such as avoid sitting for too long and take the wallet out of your pocket when sitting.
- Staying hydrated after the massage session.
- Use self-massage techniques.
Though sciatica pain is difficult to bear, but you might find nerve pain relief with a good massage therapist and following the suggestions.
14. Muscle Relaxants
For most of the people, sciatica nerve pain relief is achieved by simply putting the hot or cold packs or doing stretching exercises and taking the pain medications. In some cases, doctors recommend an NSAID along with a muscle relaxants as the treatment for sciatica. Muscle relaxants are not a pure type of drugs but it is from a group of drugs that has the sciatica relief effect on the body. These drugs are not only for sciatic pain, they do act on the brain and basically are for the whole body relaxation.
Initially, muscle relaxant is prescribed for the back pain relief caused by sciatica, on the short-term basis. There are several muscle relaxants which are commonly used for treating the back pain.
- Soma: This muscle relaxant is good for muscle spasm or pinched sciatic nerve, it is only prescribed on short-term basis and can be used with alcohol or other drugs that have the seductive effect.
- Valium: This muscle relaxant is usually used for the relief of lower back pain associated with muscle spasm.
13. Epidural Steroid Injections
ESI is a common treatment that helps in the sciatica pain relief, arm, back pain relief and leg pain that is caused by the sciatic nerve. ESI medication is delivered to the spinal nerve through the space of epidural which is the area between spinal cord and vertebrae. The ESI effect is temporary, for time being, you will get the nerve pain relief. The main goal of ESI is to get the time being relief so that you can continue your normal activities.
The ESI has a long-lasting and an anesthetic numbing effect, the area where the epidural is delivered is filled with fat and small blood vessels. Epidural Steroid Injections have been proved successful in some cases for the treatment of painful seditious conditions.
For the severe sciatica nerve pain, you can apply heat or ice pack that are readily available and can lessen the pain, especially if you are on the initial stage of sciatic pain. Heat or ice pack can be applied for 20 minutes and repeated every 2 hours. Apply ice with the use of cloth or towel which will be placed between the ice and skin to elude the ice burn.
If you apply the hot pack, it dilates blood vessels which upturns the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the area of the pain. Heat also excites sensory receptors in the skin which helps in focusing less on the pain.
For sciatica, the ice pack is applied on the lower back because it is the place where the sciatica nerve is pinched. The benefits of applying the hot pack is that it also relaxes the muscles and allows sciatica nerve pain relief.
It is a treatment in which the needles are inserted into the specific points which are known as the acupuncture points that are at the specific location on the skin. These points are located along the channels, which is basically the energy or vital force of the body. The theory of acupuncture, as the pain is induced because of the blockage of the flow of qi, acupuncture removes those blockages and restores the balance.
10. Topical Medications
For sciatica pain, topical medications provides the prospect of suggestive reduction via the use of products which acts trans-dermally. The topical products are very effective and can be really good for some circumstances. The effect of topical product for the sciatica pain relief is for temporary duration. Some of the topical products contain pharmaceutical-drugs, while others only contain substances that are considered healthy.
Many topical products used for the sciatica nerve pain relief does not consider any medication, they are purely made with the help of oils, herbs, menthol and camphor.
9. Tens Machine
The abbreviation of TENS is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, it is the machine which helps in the sciatic nerve pain treatment, which basically uses low voltage electric current to relieve pain. It is basically done with a tens unit which is a small battery-operated device. The device is connected to two electrodes, which carries an electric current from the Tens machine to the skin.
Use the tens properly which will be in turn safe but if you want to apply tens machine for the back pain relief, then consult your doctor first.
8. Bed Rest
Bed rest has been proven effective for the sciatica pain relief, take a proper bed rest for 2 weeks. There was one research conducted on the effect of bed rest for the patients of sciatica in which both the primary and secondary measures were observed. The primary outcomes included the assessments of improvement after two weeks by the doctor and the patient and the secondary outcome were changes in functional status and in pain scores, and the need of surgical intervention.
The results were reported which proved that after 2 weeks, 70% of the patients in bed rest had an improved sciatic pain which is the proof that bed rest is good for sciatic pain relief.
“Anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve causes an irritating or frustrating pain, sciatic pain may feel like a sharp or a mild ache or even like a burning sensation.”
7. Chiropractic Care
The chiropractic is the profession of health care which focuses on the disorders of musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. The most common chiropractic care performed by doctor for sciatica treatment is spinal manipulation which is the drug-free, hands-on-approach that includes patient examination and treatment.
The main purpose of manipulation is to reestablish the restricted movements caused by the sciatic pain. If you are suffering from the lower pain back because of sciatica, it is the primary method of treatment.
Treating the sciatica pain also needs the self-help because if you keep a healthy diet, a daily routine of exercise and yoga, having a good and straight posture helps reducing the sciatica symptoms. Use hot or cold compressions or taking simple pain killers can also help.
Surgery is not that necessary for the sciatica nerve pain, it may be considered if the condition has an identifiable cause, for example a slipped disc. The surgery for sciatica is preferred, if there is severe leg pain that is continued for 4-6 weeks; if the pain relief is not achieved after so many treatments then you need to have a surgery.
The urgent need of surgery is done if patient feels progressive weakness in legs or a sudden loss of bladder control. Sciatica surgeries are of two types:
- Microdiscectomy (small open surgery), it is considered if the pain is due to the disc herniation, in which the pinched nerve is removed.
- Lumbar laminectomy (open decompression), it is considered if the pain is due to spinal stenosis, in which the small portion of bone that is pinching the nerve root is removed.
4. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw also known as grapple plant which is the genus of plant in the sesame family, it is basically an herb that is used to treat several diseases. It is quite potent anti-inflammatory which works like drugs for the sciatica nerve pain relief. It is one of the best herbs or foods that fight inflammation. Taking devil’s claw for 8-12 weeks can lessen the back pain and also increases the physical functionality. It is also the European medication for pain relief, those who takes devil’s claw have less side effects rather than those who take medicines.
3. Back Brace
Back brace has a really efficient effect for most sciatica patients, those who have the back brace are most likely to gain benefit from it because they can ease pain by simply using the sheet or bind a towel around their stomach or back. Use the back brace on the short-term basis, it helps you in reducing the sciatica pain temporarily.
In many cases of sciatica pain, a controlled and progressive exercise program is effective, the specific sciatica pain treatment exercise helps in:
- Lessens the sciatica pain in the near term.
- Help avoiding the future reappearances of pain.
Features of the sciatica exercise treatment includes:
- Core muscle strength; it provides the support for the back. This is the stretching exercise via which the patients can recover more quickly and are less likely to experience pain in the future.
- Specific diagnosis; the exercise programs will initially diagnose the cause of sciatica pain because after that diagnosis, exercise can be preferred easily without any wrong prescriptions.
There are many questions asked for, how to relieve sciatica pain or how to relieve sciatica nerve pain, the best answer of treatment one can say is to do yoga on the daily basis. If you do the proper yoga and continue it for 16 weeks, you are more likely to reduce the sciatica pain by 64% as reported by one study.
Because of doing yoga, you strengthen your muscles and it also improves flexibility which is good for your body and prevents you from the sciatica pain.
- Quit smoking.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid having bed rest too much.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Keep proper posture.
- If you are pregnant and suffering from sciatica pain, consult your doctor and do not use TENS machine.
- ESI should not be applied on the patients if they have any infection, are pregnant or have bleeding problems.
- Don’t use tens while sleeping.
- Do not sit in a soft low chair, it will worsen the pain.