Sciatica is no joke. If you’ve got sciatica, it can be difficult to even stand or walk without pain, let alone keep up with your day-to-day responsibilities. Fortunately, there are some things you can to do ease your sciatica pain naturally, and many of them don’t even involve a trip to the doctor’s office. Keep reading to learn more about what causes sciatica and how you can relieve it.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica isn’t considered a medical condition on its own. The root medical condition causing the trouble is a pinched sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back all the way down to your feet – it’s actually the longest nerve in your body. No wonder it can cause so much pain!
There are a number of reasons why your sciatic nerve might get pinched. The most common cause is a herniated or slipped disc in your spine. If the disc puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause lower back pain that radiates down your legs. Bone spurs or a narrowing of the spinal canal can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica.
What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Most sciatica symptoms involve pain in the lower back and leg. The hallmark of sciatica is lower back pain that radiates down into the buttock and the back of one leg. For some people, pain starts in the buttock instead of the back. Most people with sciatica experience the pain only on one side of their body. Pains tend to be sharp and shooting, not dull.
Pain isn’t the only symptom of a pinched sciatic nerve. Some people with sciatica also experience a feeling of tingling, numbness, or weakness in the affected leg. This feeling can extend all the way down to the toes. In rare cases, sciatica might make it hard for you to move or bend your leg.
How to Ease Your Sciatica Naturally
Having trouble managing your sciatica symptoms? Don’t start researching expensive surgeries just yet. Sciatica often responds well to natural treatments.
- Stretch. Place the foot of your affected leg on a chair or another sturdy elevated surface. Slowly lean forward until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Don’t stretch too far – this exercise should not hurt. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
- Walk. You might not feel like being active when your sciatica is acting up, but walking can help relieve pain. Even a quick 10-minute stroll around the block can help you feel better.
- See a chiropractor. Chiropractic care has been shown to be just as effective as surgery for some people with sciatica, and it’s far less invasive.
- Get a massage. A lower back massage can help relax tight muscles, easing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Just two or three sessions can cause significant improvements.
- Try some heat or ice. Temperature changes can help soothe the pain of a sciatica flare. Hold a heating pad or an ice pack to the area where the pain is worst for ten to fifteen minutes.
Need some immediate help for your sciatica or other back pain issues? Schedule a consult with one of our doctors today.