Sciatica and How It Can Effect You
Most of you might be lucky enough to never have heard of sciatica as it has only been reported to occur in 1 to 10% of the population, most commonly in people aged 25 to 45 years. If you or someone you know fall into this category, you are most likely familiar with the severe and debilitating pain that usually extends from the lower back to the rear of the thigh and down through the leg.
Sciatica is pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve and usually affects only one part of the body. It can be accompanied by symptoms like burning or tingling down the leg, shooting pain that causes difficulty standing up or sitting down, and numbness and weakness down the affected leg and even in the toes.
Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself—it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Common lower back problems that can cause sciatica symptoms include a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, or spinal stenosis.
Treatments for sciatica depend on the underlying cause and the severity of the pain and in very severe cases will require a course of pain management medication or even surgery- 2 things that we try to help you avoid as much as possible. Natural drug free alternatives to help you manage sciatica include:
- Chiropractic adjustments.
Chiropractic care is an increasingly popular natural treatment for neck and back pain. Chiropractic spinal manipulation includes different techniques involving rapid, short thrusts to alleviate nerve irritability responsible for inflammation and other symptoms associated with sciatica.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulation benefited 60% of the study participants suffering from sciatica to the same degree as a surgical intervention could have provided.
- Acupuncture and Dry Needling
Acupuncture and dry needling is another effective natural treatment to relieve sciatica pain, relax the muscles and help your body heal itself.
Another theory is that by stimulating certain acupuncture points, the central nervous system is also stimulated, in turn triggering the release of chemicals, that either change the perception of pain or produce a sense of well-being.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that warmed acupuncture with heated needles helped improve sciatica pain. In fact, 17 of the 30 participants got complete relief from sciatica after acupuncture therapy.
- Ice Packs
Ice packs can instantly relieve sciatica. Leave it for 20 minutes every 3 hours to relief the pain.
- Mild exercise
Even though every single movement can be painful, you need to be active in order to accelerate healing. Therefore, you can practice yoga stretches or gentle back stretches. In this way, you will improve mobility, strengthen the muscles on the back, and boost the blood flow.
Trigger-point therapies or deeper massaging is extremely effective in treating pain, muscle spasms, and numbness of the toes and legs.
- Herbs and Oils
Numerous natural herbs can provide great effects, as they reduce inflammation and treat pain. These herbs can be used via infused oils, capsules or salves.
Furthermore, you can use these herbs in tinctures, elixirs, essential oils, and tea from fresh or dried herbs, and alleviate pain.
Yet, before you start using natural herbs, consult your doctor, in order to check if they interfere with some medications you take. These are the most helpful herbs you can use in order to reduce inflammation, and pain, and support nerve health:
- Roman chamomile
- Devil’s claw
- Milky oat tops
- White willow bark
- Mullein root
- Clary Sage
- St. John’s Wort
- Jamaican dogwood
- Linden flower
Make sure you get enough sleep, in order to relax the muscles and the body, and strengthen and rebuild the nerves.
- Do not make sudden movements.
- Adopt a good posture to relieve pressure on your lower back.
- Practice proper lifting techniques with your back straight and knees bent.
- Sleep on a mattress that is neither too firm nor too soft.
- Avoid cigarette smoking as it promotes disc degeneration.
- Consider taking vitamin C, calcium and magnesium supplements after consulting your doctor.
Related Article: What is A Bulging Disc?