Sciatica affects several people. An irritated sciatic nerve causes radiating pain in the legs besides related disabilities. Usually, sciatica affects only a single side of the body. Hence, most people feel pain in one leg.
The agony in the leg is often quite worse than chronic back pain. A herniated disc or narrowing of the spine is often the reason for such excruciating pain. If you are battling an electric shock-like jolt/tingling or muscle weakness in any one foot or leg, here are a few therapies worth trying.
Physical therapy and exercise
Moving is the last thing on people’s minds when they have sciatica. But, you may not know that laying on the bed makes the pain last longer. It is, thus, vital to indulge in physical activity. Exercise enhances the flow of blood to the nerve and disk. Therefore, your body gets rid of those chemicals that cause inflammation.
Take 20-25 minute walks. If walking hurts, give water aerobics or swimming a try. Any water-based exercise works wonders. That is because your back experiences no pressure when in water. Seeking help from a physical therapist may work wonders too. He/she can prescribe stretching exercises that strengthen your core. The activities can strengthen muscles and restore stretchability to your back.
Muscle relaxants and pain relievers
Taking an anti-inflammatory or non-steroidal drug can ease your distress. Painful spasms in muscles often go with herniation in the disk. So, your doctor may prescribe pain-reducing muscle relaxants or tricyclic antidepressants.
One of the most potent anti-inflammatory herbal medications has to be “devil’s claw.” This medicine inhibits those substances that cause inflammation. According to a doctor, you can start taking 1500-2000 mg of devil’s claw two times a day.
Online safety reviews show that most people can tolerate this supplement well. But, those on blood-thinning medications or those suffering from peptic ulcers must avoid it.
Heat or ice compressions
The sciatic nerve is embedded deep within the leg or buttocks. Heat or ice on the body surface will not ease inner inflammation. But, time-honored therapies work as counterirritants. They give the body a different input and bring the sting down by a notch.
All you need to do is apply a heating or cooling pad for fifteen minutes.
Oil works as a perfect ointment for nerve pain. You can apply this anti-inflammatory oil 2-3 times per day for overpowering pain. Another option that works great is a cayenne pepper cream. This cream is infused with capsaicin that you will find in chilies and stops the pain-causing compounds from being released.
Massaging the trigger point
Do not expect a rejuvenating, chilled-out spa massage if you are down with sciatica. It is in this condition that trigger-point therapy works best. The numbness and tingling sensation in the sciatic nerve can be cured with a trigger point massage.
Apply pressure when the piriformis gets inflamed or irritated. Schedule your massage treatment 7-10 days apart.
Note: piriformis is the muscle under which the sciatic nerve is located.
According to a study in a published journal, Iyengar Yoga practitioners reported a 64 percent reduction in pain. Thus, if you practice yoga, your muscles will get stronger. And there will be an improvement in flexibility.
Sciatica sufferers will function and move better if they do not try a posture that further aggravates sciatica.
Acupuncture relieves pain from the very start. Right after the first session, you can see a considerable improvement in your sciatic pain. But, it may take almost twelve sessions to cure completely.
This treatment relaxes the tight muscles and improves the circulation of blood. As a result, the nervous system gets regulated, and the neurotransmitters are released. That, in turn, reduces pain. The best part about acupuncture is that you do not observe any side-effects that any muscle relaxer or prescription pain medication can cause.
When the sciatic nerve gets impinged, the pain gets so frustrating. You cannot enjoy or take part in daily life chores. But, chiropractic care is one fruitful treatment. That is because it addresses the problem’s root cause directly.
Some of the treatment methods that chiropractic care encompasses are as follows:
- At-home exercises and stretches
- Spinal manipulations
- TENS Unit
- Cold/Ice therapy
- Spinal decompression
If you ever experience the following symptoms, you need surgery:
- Weakness in one leg or foot
- Sharp pain in buttocks or legs
- Pain in the lower back
- Inability to manage bladder or bowel movements
You can consult medical professionals at Central NJ Spine. The team of doctors here may recommend surgery if physical therapy and medication fail. They will go ahead with procedures like:
- Lumbar discectomy
The above-mentioned procedures will help remove nerve pressure at the earliest.
The health of a sciatic nerve improves when you stop consuming tobacco products and quit smoking. If you have a great amount of corrective sleep and give up eating anti-inflammatory foods, you can see a major improvement in the pain. Thus, make the best use of all the techniques and tips to better the pain. Consult a doctor to acquire a proper treatment plan and accurate diagnosis if the tingling/numbness intensifies.