How to Relieve Sciatica Pain
July 17, 2022
What Does Sciatica Pain Feel Like?Around 40% of Americans experience sciatica at some point in their lives. It’s more common in men than in women and is most prevalent in adults between 40-50 years old. People often confuse general back pain with sciatica. However, this condition is not just limited to the back. Depending on the individual’s health, there are many different types of sciatica pain. Some people feel a burning sensation. Others feel numbness or tingling pain in the back or the affected leg. There are instances when it feels like you’re being pinched with needles or stabbed with an instrument.
Sciatica Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors
SymptomsYou can experience sciatic nerve pain if you have a trapped nerve, disc herniation, or trigger point referral. Here are the common symptoms of sciatica patients:
- Lower back pain
- Leg pain
- Radiating pain in the back down to buttock and legs
- Burning or tingling sensation running down the leg
- Numbness, weakness, or difficulties in moving the lower body
- An excruciating pain that makes it hard to stand up
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
CausesWhat triggers sciatica? Sciatica happens when there’s a pinched nerve caused by a herniated disc in your spine or an overgrowth of bone on your vertebrae. In rare cases, the nerve may become compressed by tumors or damaged by diseases like diabetes. In addition, sciatica pain itself is a symptom of other underlying conditions that pressure the sciatic nerve. These include:
- Herniated disc (also known as “slipped disc” or the subluxation along the spinal cord due to too much stress on a disc)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
- Piriformis syndrome (tightening of piriformis muscle)
- Degenerative disc disease (weakening of discs associated with aging)
- Prolonged sitting and/or bad posture
- Wearing high heels
- Obesity (wear and tear of the lower spine due to excess weight)
- Spondylolisthesis (a condition wherein one vertebra slips forward over another vertebra)
Risk Factors of Sciatic Nerve Pain
- Have an injury/previous injury
- Old age
- Weak core muscles (back and abdominal muscles)
- Poor posture
- Active, physical job that requires heavy lifting
- Sedentary lifestyle
How To Relieve Sciatica Pain: Sciatica Pain Relief You Can Try Now
- Apply ice and/or hot packs. Hot and cold may seem opposite, but both can help relieve sciatica pain. The heat stimulates blood flow, while ice reduces inflammation. Combining the two can ease muscle spasms, which are often associated with sciatica.
For injuries that are just occurring, cold treatment is often the best option. Doctors usually recommend switching to heat treatment after 72 hours.Wrap an ice pack in a towel or try a heating pad for about 15-20 minutes at a time. To avoid tissue and skin damage, be sure to read the instructions. You can wear the heat wrap under your clothing, and it will directly adhere to your skin. Lastly (and most importantly), be careful not to burn your skin.
- Refresh your posture. Sciatica can spike if you sit too long, whether you’re at work or home. Proper posture can eliminate pressure on your spine. Change your posture every 20 minutes to relieve symptoms such as leg or back pain.
- Stand up. Sitting for long periods is not healthy for your leg muscles, too. If you don’t feel up to your usual workout, at least try to stand up from time to time to avoid the pain from getting worse.
- Exercise. Exercises including stretching and strengthening help relieve muscle stress and heal soft tissues. They also improve nerve function and promote better pain management. Just be careful. Exercise within tolerable limits and according to your health professional’s advice.
- Take charge of stress. Your emotions also play a role in your ability to manage pain. Stress causes muscle tension which often worsens the pain. Find time to take a rest and unwind from any activities that may be draining your energy and wellness.
- Apply a topical pain medication. Apply pain-relieving or numbing medications topically to provide quick and effective relief. These medications are less likely to cause side effects and can prevent long-term health problems.
- Trolamine salicylate
- Methyl salicylate
Physical Therapy and chiropractic adjustmentsChiropractic adjustments (also known as spinal manipulations) gently push misaligned discs back to their original positions. Doing so helps in relieving the pressure off the sciatic nerves. As a result, you will regain nerve signal flow, improve mobility, and ease muscle spasms for long-term pain relief. Your sciatica chiropractor and physical therapist may recommend combining adjustments with physical therapy to boost pain relief without the use of drugs or surgery.
Heat And Cold TherapyCold and heat therapy, if done by a licensed chiropractor, can provide a more effective and efficient sciatica pain relief. They can diagnose which between the two methods is suitable for your sciatic pain.
Exercise TherapyBased on your condition, chiropractors can recommend sciatica exercises. They can give further advice to relieve stress and pressure that comes from the inflamed and tight muscles.
Healthcare Professional HelpSciatica is usually not dangerous unless you experience severe pain that can’t be relieved through home remedies or spinal adjustments. Ask your healthcare provider or a spine specialist to provide medical advice if you have a fever, bloody urine, trouble controlling your bladder or bowels, or if the pain is so severe that you’re waking up in the middle of the night.
Prescription MedicationsUpon assessing your condition, your doctor may prescribe medicines like muscle relaxers, anti-seizure drugs, and strong NSAIDs to make you feel better. These meds come with side effects and must be taken after receiving professional medical advice.
SurgerySurgery is not necessary for most people suffering from sciatica. Your doctor might recommend surgery if you have difficulty walking, lose control over your bladder or bowels, or if your pain is severe and other treatments fail to help. It depends on the cause of your symptoms.
Relieve Your Sciatica Pain Today!Most sciatica patients get better within a few weeks of home remedies. But if you’re looking for a safe, effective, and non-invasive way to relieve the excruciating pain in your sciatic nerve, chiropractic adjustments are the way to go. Chiropractors are highly educated and specially trained to address musculoskeletal problems including sciatica. Spinal adjustments will not just relieve your pain, but will also optimize your nerve function and overall health. Cornerstone Family Chiropractor, a highly preferred chiropractic facility in Prescott, is ready to help you. Call us today for more information or schedule a consultation with us! Do you have any questions about sciatica? Ask us in the comments section below!
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