Whether it’s constant soreness or intermittent discomfort, sciatica pain can be unbearable. No doubt, the first thing you’ll want when you experience sciatica pain is immediate relief. The good news is you can alleviate bothersome symptoms effectively with self-care methods. There’s no need to put up with sciatica pain — here are some home remedies to ease your pain!
It might go against your instincts to engage in physical activity when you’re in pain, but being sedentary can cause sciatica pain to flare up. Low-impact exercises, such as water aerobics and yoga, can help your pain by:
- Relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve
- Easing inflammation that causes sciatica pain
- Strengthening the muscles that support the spine
- Improving or maintaining mobility and flexibility in the spine and hip
- Promoting blood flow to all areas of the body
- Decreasing pain sensitivity
It’s perfectly fine to rest for the first couple of days after your sciatica pain begins, but staying in bed can make things worse, not better. Always remember to follow your doctor or physical therapist’s instructions within tolerable limits. Never exercise to the point that it makes your sciatica pain worse. If moving seems to worsen the pain, it’s best to talk to your doctor to learn other home remedies you can do.
In addition to exercise, another form of physical activity that can reduce sciatica pain is stretching. Doing gentle stretches will help you loosen the back, buttocks, hamstrings, and calves, which can reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. It can also potentially improve your spinal flexibility and mobility.
Stretching should be done slowly and gently. Stretch only until you feel a gentle tension, then hold it for about 10 seconds. Do it with the goal of feeling better, not becoming more flexible or increasing your range of motion — these gains will come naturally with regular practice. Avoid pushing or pulling too hard, which could worsen your symptoms.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Using both heat and ice packs can ease sciatica pain, accelerate the healing process, and help you function better. For the first week, place an ice pack on your lower back to reduce pain and swelling. Wrap the ice pack in a cloth or towel, and don’t leave it on for more than 15 minutes at a time. After the first week, you can start using heat by either applying a heating pad wrapped in cloth or soaking in a warm bath.
Alternating heat and ice therapy can provide immediate relief for sciatica pain, since it promotes blood flow and improves healing. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15 minutes once an hour, then apply heat for 15 minutes every two or three hours.
Improve Your Posture
Whether you’re working at your desk or relaxing on your couch, staying in the same position for too long will only worsen sciatica pain. Pay close attention to your posture and move around frequently to relieve the strain on your spine.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can offer significant pain relief, since they reduce inflammation. However, overusing these medicines — either taking too much at once or using them for prolonged periods — has dangerous side effects, possibly causing damage to the liver and stomach lining. Always consult with your orthopedic doctor before taking any OTC pain medication or if you find yourself relying on them for weeks on end.
Topical gels, creams, or patches can relieve or numb pain, providing fast and effective sciatica pain relief. Compared to pain medications, these have a lower risk of harmful side effects and can prevent long-term complications. If you decide to use topical medications, don’t use a heating pad or ice pack on the affected area at the same time. Combining treatments may reduce or alter the effects of topical medications.
Sciatica Pain Treatment in Ellicott City, MD
Sciatica pain can reduce your quality of life, but there are at-home treatment methods that can ease your pain. However, if the pain becomes debilitating and doesn’t clear up on its own, other treatment methods might be necessary.
If you’re searching for long-term relief from sciatica pain, our providers at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland are here for you. Whether it’s tips for home remedies, medications, therapy, or surgery, our highly skilled specialists can help you pinpoint the exact issue and reverse the damage that’s causing your unwanted pain.
Schedule a consultation with our providers by calling us today at (410) 644-1880. You can also use our secure and convenient online appointment request form. We’re looking forward to helping you find long-lasting pain relief!