5 Helpful Tips to Alleviate Your Sciatica Pain

back pain, spine, decompression, sciatica

Normally, you’re not even aware of your sciatic nerve, even though it’s the largest nerve in your body. But when your sciatic nerve gets pinched or irritated — a condition known as sciatica — you pay attention right away. Up to 40% of women and men have at least one episode of sciatica.

The sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and then splits into two long branches that run through each side of the buttocks and down each leg. Most of the time, only one branch of the nerve is affected, which is why you usually only get symptoms in one buttock or leg. Whether you have sciatica in one leg or two, you’ll know you have it when you feel sensations in your legs, back, or buttocks such as:

Sometimes the numbness, tingling, and pain can travel as far as your calf or foot. If you have sciatica and want relief, Dr. Mervet Saleh here at the Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management in Centerville, Ohio, recommends the following steps.

Run hot and cold

To soothe your inflamed sciatic nerve, try numbing it with an ice pack or package of frozen peas wrapped in a towel to protect your skin. Apply the wrapped cold pack to the area that hurts for up to 20 minutes per hour.

If you still have pain after 2-3 days, switch to a hot pack instead. You can use a heating pad or a heat lamp set to its lowest temperature

Roll away pain

Foam rollers are the latest fitness craze for reviving sore muscles and speeding recovery after a workout. Stimulating your body with pressure relaxes your nervous system and improves your tolerance for pain. The rolling movement also increases circulation of your blood, which is filled with natural healing agents.

To roll away your sciatica, sit on the floor and place the roller under your thighs. Roll the back of your legs and buttocks back and forth over the roller for one minute.

Next, lie on the side that hurts, keeping the roller perpendicular to your body. Roll out your outer thigh and calf for another minute. Finally, lie on your abdomen and roll out the front of your thighs from the hip to the knee for a minute.

Stretch yourself

Stretching improves your flexibility and also gets your circulation going. The two main muscles that are involved in sciatica pain are the piriformis, which starts in your lower spine and then connects to the top of each of your thighbones, and the hip flexors.

Here’s how to stretch out the piriformis:

Loosen stiff hips with the pigeon pose:

Bird-dog it

Building strength in your core and hips with physical therapy helps relieve the pain of sciatica. You can try the bird-dog pose at home:

Dash to the drugstore

You may be able to find relief from pain with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Try  ibuprofen (AdvilⓇ, MotrinⓇ IB) or naproxen sodium (AleveⓇ).

Get serious help

If pressure, stretching, and exercise don’t give you relief, and OTC pain medication doesn’t fully address your pain, we can help with sciatica treatment at the Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management. After conducting a thorough physical examination and possibly ordering tests to identify all of the factors involved in your pain, Dr. Saleh creates an individualized treatment plan.

Depending on your needs, she may recommend:

You don’t have to suffer the pain or disability of sciatica any longer. Call us today or use the handy online form.

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