The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back and down the legs. When this nerve becomes pinched or compressed, it can cause sciatica. Sciatica pain radiates from the lower back to the buttock and down the leg, usually only happening on one side. The pain can vary from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation. You may also experience numbness, weakness, or tingling in the affected leg.
Try these 4 tips to alleviate your sciatica:
The inflammation from the compressed nerve aggravates the surrounding tissue leading to sciatica pain. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are effective at reducing inflammation and pain associated with sciatica. However, these medications can pose health risks if taken too frequently.
Alternating Heat and Ice Therapy
Ice helps to reduce inflammation while heat promotes blood flow to the affected area. This encourages the healing process and provides relief to the area. Use an ice pack on the painful area for 15 minutes once every hour. Use heat on the area for 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. Use a towel as a barrier to prevent skin irritation.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend bed rest for sciatica, but this should be no more than two weeks. Studies show that bed rest is no more effective at reducing sciatica pain than watchful waiting. A lack of movement for too long can cause sciatica symptoms to worsen. If sitting for long periods of time, be sure to stand up and move around. Stretching is recommended for those with sciatica, as it can do wonders on spine health and relieve sciatica pain.
Try This Sciatica-Friendly Stretch
This movement has been shown effective at relieving sciatica pain and improving hip flexibility. Lay flat on your back on a level surface, preferably with a blanket or exercise mat below you.
Relax your whole body and bring one knee towards your chest while the other lies on the ground. Grab onto your knee and gently bring it towards you, as far as you comfortably can. Keep your lower back flat on the ground and lengthen your straight leg. Repeat on the other side.
Live Sciatica Free
Don’t let sciatica pain slow you down. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Melamed to determine the root cause of your sciatica. He can develop a personalized treatment plan to get you back to living your best life.