Sciatica pain or otherwise known as sciatica is caused due to pain radiating along the sciatic nerve. It starts in your lower back and branches out to your hips and legs. Usually, it only affects one side of the body. Sciatica takes a long time to heal. Sometimes, even with treatment, it can take up to three months to completely go away. The pain can end up becoming a massive hindrance in your day-to-day activities. The doctors may advise people experiencing chronic sciatic pain to go for surgery. However, there are other methods to deal with this. Here are some remedies which can help you with the pain.
Initial Self Care Measures
Most people deal with sciatica pain in their lifetime. The pain can be tackled with some initial self-care. You can start by doing regular stretches. Practicing yoga would also help. Make sure to sit with your back straight and in the correct posture. You have to take care of your lower back; there should be no unnecessary pressure on it.
Regular exercise will help make your back strong. It would be best to work on your back and core muscles as they are essential for achieving that proper posture. Avoid Standing for a longer time. If you have to stand for a long time, make sure to keep shifting your weight on both your legs. Also, do not lift anything heavy as it will stress your lower back, and your sciatica might worsen.
If there’s no change in your pain status within five days of following the initial self-care methods, it might be time to see your doctor. He might prescribe you oral medication. Common drugs given for sciatica are muscle relaxants, narcotics, steroidal epidural injections, anti seizure medicines, and some other anti-inflammatory drugs. Muscle relaxants help in loosening the muscles that are tightened due to sciatica and provide some relief while anti-Inflammatory drugs aid in reducing inflammation and pain.
The doctor could also advise some over-the-counter Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help ease the pain. Never take medicines on your own. There may be some health risks that you must understand before taking any medication. Have a thorough discussion with your physician. You can always pair up your medicines along with self-care methods for better and effective results.
Apart from all these treatments, alternative therapies are also gaining popularity. Some of these methods include Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Deep Tissue Laser Therapy, Chiropractic treatments. A chiropractor can adjust your spine in such a way that it increases spine movement without causing pain. Massage Therapy may ease your muscles tightened up due to sciatica, which in turn will help reduce the symptoms.
In acupuncture, hair-like thin needles are inserted into your skin at various points. Studies have suggested that this method can help with back pain and if you decide to go for it, make sure you visit someone who has extensive experience in this field. These practices have been gaining much attention as they are a part of holistic healing treatments, which focus on not just alleviating the symptoms of the diseases but on the overall healing of the body, mind, and soul.
In some severe cases, the doctor would recommend a steroid injection. It is a corticosteroid medicine that is injected into the area around the involved nerve root. These steroids help by suppressing the inflammation around the sciatic nerve, in turn reducing the pain caused by it. This will provide you relief from sciatica for some months at least, but ultimately the effects of the corticosteroid will wear off, and your pain may return.
The risk of being on steroidal medication is too high, so there’s a limit to the number of injections that can be injected. Too many corticosteroids in your body can lead to weak bones and muscles, and it can progress further. It may also cause high blood pressure, convulsions, and even psychosis. You will be at an increased risk of infections especially caused by bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. Hence, it is imperative that you must discuss all of this with your doctor before going ahead with something like this.
There are some home remedies you can follow for immediate pain relief from sciatica. You can perform a basic stretch of yoga, the Surya namaskar, and do multiple rounds of it. This will allow some movement of your spine and open up your tightened muscles. You can even practice some remedies like alternating between heat and ice therapy. Grab your ice pack and heat pad. First, apply the ice pack to the painful area for at least 15 minutes once every hour, and then apply the heating pad for 15 mins for the next hour.
The idea behind this therapy is that ice can ease the nerve pain as it numbs it, and applying heat to it will increase the blood flow. This method can provide immediate relief to the painful area. Just remember not to use both the ice pack and the heating pad directly on your skin. Keep a towel in between. Make sure you take an ample amount of rest and do not take too much stress, either mentally or physically.
With all these methods, you will definitely find some relief from your sciatica pain. However, it is a recurring pain without any permanent cure. In recent times, surgery has been giving good results for sciatica, but it comes with immense health risks. Surgery is only preferred when the pain is intolerable, and no other treatment has been able to curb it.
The most common surgery practiced for sciatica is microdiscectomy, in which a small incision is made in the lower back, and a piece of the disc is removed. It does work effectively in relieving the pain. But in most cases, sciatica can be treated without surgery using the above-mentioned methods and practices. In case you decide to go for surgery, it is extremely important to understand the full implications of the surgical procedure and evaluate the health risks before going ahead with it.