You may be thinking to yourself, “It feels like a knife slicing down my leg,” or “It’s the worst cramp I’ve ever had,” or “I thought the numbness and weakness were bad until the throbbing started.” Sciatica pain can express itself in several different ways, but no matter which symptoms you are experiencing, you undoubtedly want to get rid of them as soon as possible. Finding sciatica pain relief isn’t always easy, but we have some tips to treat the condition and make the discomfort more manageable so you can get on with a normal life.
Rest for Sciatica Pain Relief
The good news is that sciatica typically goes away without the need for surgery. “Approximately 80% to 90% of patients with sciatica get better over time without surgery, typically within several weeks,” said the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
Yes, time and rest may be all it takes to do the trick. Your pain may dictate just how active you can be, but it’s a good idea to take a break from strenuous activities while sciatica is flaring up to allow your body to heal itself.
Keep in mind, that you don’t want to be sedentary. “It is important that you continue to move. Do not remain in bed, as too much rest may cause other parts of the body to feel discomfort. Motion helps to reduce inflammation. Your doctor may want you to take short walks or, a few minutes a day on a stationary bike or, may prescribe physical therapy.”
Stretching for Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief
If your doctor sends you to a physical therapist, you can expect to do some stretches to help alleviate the pain of sciatica; In general, these will be focused on rotating the hip. The pigeon pose is a common yoga move that “works to open the hips,” said Healthline and is a good beginner’s stretch. “There are multiple versions of this stretch. The first is a starting version known as the reclining pigeon pose. If you are just starting your treatment, you should try the reclining pose first.”
The pose, which you can learn here, “helps stretch the tiny piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes inflamed and presses against the sciatic nerve, causing pain,” they said. “Once you can do the reclining version without pain, work with your physical therapist on the sitting and forward versions of pigeon pose.”
NSAIDs for Sciatica Pain Relief
If you’re coping with sciatica pain, Advil, Motrin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are your friend. It’s the “anti-inflammatory” part that’s key to pain relief. Other types of pain relievers like Tylenol may help some, but, because sciatica pain is generally caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve, you want to go with something that targets that inflammation.
Hot or Cold for Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief
A heating pad or ice pack may bring temporary relief when coping with sciatica pain. Your doctor may advise which one to use, or how to alternate them, or you can experiment on your own to figure out what helps the most.
Injections for Sciatica Pain Relief
If rest, medication, and your trusty heating pad or ice pack aren’t helping, a corticosteroid injection may be your next course of action. This is a simple, non-surgical procedure in which medication is injected into your spine. The medication targets the inflamed nerve to reduce swelling and pain.
Surgery for Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief
“You might need surgery if you still have disabling leg pain” after several weeks of nonsurgical treatment, said the AAOS. If surgery is recommended, the procedure is often minimally invasive.
Microdiscectomy is “performed through a very small incision less than an inch long,” said DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain. “This procedure involves very minimal blood loss, is done outpatient and is suture-less.”
If you’re tired of coping with sciatica pain or if you want more information about treatment options, contact DISC Spine Institute. Today’s minimally invasive procedures include outpatient treatments and easier surgical treatments with small incisions and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.