The inflammation of a sciatic nerve can take place for a variety of reasons ranging from a slipped disc and piriformis syndrome to improper posture and pregnancy. The sciatica nerve bundle runs all the way from the buttocks to the toes, and this means that even a minor amount of swelling can cause serious pain and even mobility issues over a period of time. While it is important to seek out professional medical assistance for any chronic issues, there are a number of steps that can be used to reduce pain when the sciatica nerve is acting up. Here is a closer look at 8 simple tips anyone can benefit from if they have recently begun experience in their hips and legs due to their sciatica nerve.
1. Alternating Heat and Cold
Just like any other form of minor tissue damage throughout the body, one of the efficient remedies for immediate pain management is to begin a regimen of hot and cold compresses. Hot and cold packs should be placed on the lower back, buttocks, or legs the moment that any discomfort is felt and then alternated every few minutes. This dramatic change in temperature will help to relieve pain by slightly numbing the area as well as promoting circulation which will allow the inflammation to go down. It is important to remember not to leave cold packs on for an extended period of time as it can in fact cause damage to the skin and underlying nerves.
2. Thorough Stretching
Stretching is not only a great way to loosen the vertebra and decrease inflammation on a pinched sciatic nerve, it is also one of the most effective preventative strategies when combined with regular exercise to strengthen the surrounding muscles. When doing these stretches, muscles in the lower back and legs should be extended until the position is slightly uncomfortable but not painful. Stretches should be held for a minimum of 30 seconds and can be held for upwards of a minute or longer.
3. Safely Using Medications
Medication is often the go-to option for those in need of pain relief, but there are some things to consider with ongoing painkiller usage. Primarily, pain medication will put a strain on a number of organs including the liver and kidney which will have difficulty filtering the chemicals. This is why those struggling with pain should look to natural healing options for permanent relief and only take medication for a limited period. Staying well hydrated will help the body process medication and lower the chance of damage to any organs when taking high strength over-the-counter painkillers.
4. Topical Analgesics
Outside of painkillers and alternating hot and cold presses, one of the best ways to promote immediate pain relief is with topical analgesics. These come in a wide variety of styles and are designed to be rubbed into the skin directly where the pain is felt. They can be liberally applied as soon as the pain takes place and then reapplied every few minutes until it episode finally subsides. These products include ingredients such as menthol which can block pain receptors as well as relax soft tissue.
5. A Professional Masseuse
Massage therapy is another popular method to reduce pain around the lower back, hips, and legs. Typically, those struggling with an inflamed sciatica nerve will want to schedule appointments at least once every few days. Over time, this will help the tissue around the nerve bundle elongate and remain as loose as possible which may prevent future issues. A massage therapist is also one of the best resources for further information on the causes of sciatic nerve pain and effective methods for treating this common issue.
6. Changing Posture and Support
While some of these tips can be used to prevent pain right as it happens, long-term relief is going to require long-term changes to one’s lifestyle. This includes changing one’s posture and back support throughout the day as well as while they are sleeping. The first area to explore is shoe inserts which can be used to reduce stress on the lower back and the buttocks. Mattress tops and lower back cushions for a work chair can also be used to help relieve tension or remedy the bad posture that could cause inflammation. Due to the fact that every pinched nerve is slightly different, individuals should mix and match various forms of support to see which will suit their own needs.
Hydrotherapy is an excellent way to relieve pain and improve one’s health in a natural manner. This form of therapy is used by a variety of people ranging from professional athletes to patients recovering from a surgery and has shown to provide a long list of benefits. Either in a hydrotherapy tub or a Jacuzzi, users should focus the jets on their lower back and legs for periods of around 20 to 30 minutes. When warm jets of water pulse the back and legs it will immediately help to reduce inflammation as well as promote proper circulation.
In its most basic form, acupuncture is the use of miniscule needles that are placed in the body at various nerves and pressure points. This form of therapy has been used for thousands of years, but is only now on the receiving end of widespread research and support. Acupuncture can be carried out as often as every week and has shown to relieve pain in a relatively high percentage of patients. When carried out by an experienced acupuncturist, it is not only painless, but will help to improve circulation throughout the body including inflamed areas such as the sciatica nerve.
Chronic pain is one issue that no one should ever feel as if they are forced to endure or can do nothing more than mask the discomfort with prescription medication. When it comes to an inflamed or pinched sciatica nerve, there are now more options than ever that have been proven time after time to promote healthy circulation as well as loosen muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissue. For those that continue to struggle with pain due to their sciatica, it is important to go through these steps one at a time to see which will help with their own unique medical condition.