Sciatica (sciatic nerve pain) is a condition that causes irritation to the lower back (the lumbar spinal chord) resulting in pain and often numbness and tingling. This can be caused by a variety of problems including a slipped disk, muscle or bone problems, infection or injury and the symptoms and treatment will vary accordingly and it may be possible to alleviate the problems with sciatica home treatment.
In some cases, such as bruising or a trapped nerve, doctors might recommend ‘watchful waiting’. By this is meant simply taking it easy and observing symptoms. It may be that over time they subside by themselves. Many doctors and physicians also recommend bed rest as the best sciatica home treatment, though it is contested how effective this is (in some cases it can be better to move about in order to ‘un-trap’ or limber up disks, muscles and bones). In most cases however bed rest will help ease the symptoms of sciatica. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication can also act as good sciatica home treatment to address the symptoms while resting and observing or to allow the patient to continue normal activity. Another way to alleviate symptoms can be to apply pressure (better yet warm pressure) to the small of the back. If lying or sitting, placing a small cushion under the small of the back can be enough to change the position of the spinal column and surrounding muscles and bones which may be able to help lessen the pain.
The best proactive forms of sciatica home treatment for alleviating symptoms in the long run however are exercises that can massage and stretch the problem area and there are many positions that can be used. By stretching the spinal chord it can be possible to temporarily or potentially permanently free the nerve to give it some respite.
One exercise for sciatica home treatment involves getting on to all fours. From here the patient then arches their back upwards and holds the position for a count of 5-10 seconds before allowing it to drop and ‘hang’. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the pain subsides.
Another similar exercise involves lying flat on your back then ‘hugging’ your knees against your chest. From here you should be in ball with only the small of your back touching the floor which has the dual purpose of stretching out the small of the back as well as allowing the sufferer to ‘rock’ on the small of their back and massage the area using the floor (only practice on soft surfaces). This is an exercise from Pilates, and both Pilates and Yoga can act as good sciatica home treatment providing a range of exercises that will strengthen the back muscles and keep the spine subtle and limber. This may both help to alleviate sciatica on a short term basis as well as protect against future instances.
While these stretches can provide temporary relief, if the pain persists and proves to be a distraction, then lying on a flat surface with your legs at right angles on a chair (so that you’re essentially sitting on the chair from the wrong side as you might see in an Escher painting) can provide a stretch that can be maintained indefinitely. While it may look a little odd, this position can be used when watching TV or reading to provide pain relief without medication.
Sometimes gentle massaging can work as a sciatica home treatment, and can again both alleviate symptoms temporarily and potentially cure the problem. Ask a friend or relative to gently rub the area and feel around for potential problems – don’t let them apply too much pressure however as this could exacerbate the condition.
While few of these treatments are likely to provide immediate relief, they may help alleviate the symptoms while aiding recovery and preventing relapse. If the symptoms persist or worsen however, then the patient should seek consultation from a medical professional who may recommend a course in physiotherapy, surgery or epidural.