Sciatica Pain - How To Get Relief From It?
MD - Anaesthesiology, MBBS
Pain Management Specialist, Mumbai
26 years experience
Ever faced a nagging low backache that just won't quit? You could be dealing with sciatica. Sciatica or sciatic nerve pain is not a diagnosis in itself but is a symptom of a deeper problem. Conditions that trigger sciatica include degenerative discs, spinal stenosis, a herniated disc in the lumbar region or spondylolisthesis. Whether your sciatica pain is persistent or sporadic, it can make routine tasks difficult to perform. The good news is that there are a number of remedies to ease this pain and improve the health of your spine.
- Hot and cold therapy: Sciatic pain that extends down to the thighs can be relieved by alternating between a heat pack and an ice pack. Each pack can be applied for about 20 minutes at a stretch every two hours. However, this does not treat the sciatic nerve itself.
- Pain medications and steroid injections: Over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen or muscle relaxants can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. In chronic cases, epidural steroid injections may also be prescribed to address the inflammation and pain. Pain relief provided by medication and steroid injections can last for a few days or a few months depending on the person.
- Yoga: Sciatica patients looking for long term relief often turn towards alternative forms of treatment like yoga. Yoga helps strengthen muscles, increases flexibility and improves posture. This is more beneficial towards preventing sciatica problems from arising than treating ongoing sciatic pain. When practising yoga with a sciatica problem, it is very important to understand your body's limitations and not overextend your back muscles.
- Massage: A massage that treats sciatic pain is very different from the usual massage you may get at a spa. A massage to relieve sciatic pain involves putting pressure on the inflamed part of the back and the piriformis muscle. This is the muscle that sits over the sciatic nerve and triggers sciatic pain. In most cases, 3 to 4 massage sessions at intervals of 7 to 10 days can have effective results on sciatic pain.
- Physical therapy: Sciatica patients often find the slightest movement extremely painful. While lying in a bad is tempting, it can actually worsen the pain. Exercise increases blood flow to the spine and helps flush out toxins. Going for a walk, light aerobics or swimming are ideal ways for a sciatica patient to exercise.
- Chiropractic manipulation: This involves realigning the spinal column and is an effective way of treating underlying conditions that trigger sciatic pain. These spinal adjustments should only be performed by licensed chiropractors or osteopathic physicians.
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