Sciatica is pain that affects the back, hip and outer side of the leg which occurs as a result of compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back and at many patients the reason for that pain is degeneration of an intervertebral disk. Most common cause of sciatica pain is slipped or herniated disc, but the pain also can be caused by spinal injury or infection, piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis, pregnancy as well as isthmic spondylolisthesis. The pain caused by sciatica is severe and debilitating.
Besides unbearable pain, sciatica also may cause tingling or burning sensation in the leg, weakness and numbness that affects leg and toes, shooting pain that causes difficulties to sit down or while standing up.
There are various conventional treatments for sciatica, but these methods are temporary solution. Medical experts warn that most of the steroid injections have side-effects.
Below we are going to present you several efficient methods that will lower the pressure and inflammation on the irritated sciatic nerve. With the help of these natural therapies and home remedies, the sciatica pain disappears within six weeks.
Massage efficiently will relieve the sciatica pain, but with the help of massage therapy, your body can heal itself, especially if the cause of the problem is a muscle spasm. Massage is incredibly beneficial and will stimulate the circulation, release tension and will raise the range of motion.
St John’s wort oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and it is perfect for relieving sciatica inflammation and pain. Gently massage the affected area 2-3 times a day.
Another option is to prepare a mixture of 1 cup of sesame oil and 3 tablespoons of nutmeg powder. All you should do is to heat the mixture and leave it cool off a bit. Massage the areas where you experience sciatica pain with warm mixture. Use this oil few times a day in period of several weeks.
Due to the fact that the pain occurs in the lower back, very often the thighs and buttocks are linked to the trigger points in the gluteus minimus and medius muscles. Experts advise to massage this point at least once a day.
- Hot or Cold Compresses
Hot or cold compresses are effective method for relieving the sciatica inflammation and pain. Experts explain that the cold compress actually numb the pain and lower the swelling around the nerve, while the heat compress relax tense muscles which often are pressing the sciatic nerve.
Another option is to combine the heat and cold treatment. Begin with the hot and end with the cold treatment. In order to perform this treatment it is advisable to use steamed towel (moist heat) for the hot compress as it is more effective. All you should do is to put a cold or hot pack on the affected area and leave it stay 15-20 minutes. Repeat this procedure every couple of hours until you experience pain relief.
Important note: patients who have circulatory problems should not use cold compresses
Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a natural treatment of sciatica. Curcumin is the active compound of turmeric, which efficiently lowers nerve pain and inflammation.
Prepare turmeric-milk mixture by boiling 1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. You can add a small cinnamon stick if you like. You can add honey for a sweeter taste. Drink this healthy potion 1-2 times a day until you notice improvement.
Another option is to take turmeric supplements: 250-300 milligrams 3 times a day in the period of few weeks. But, before taking any supplements, you need to consult your doctor.
Note: patients who are suffering from gallstones, and patients who are taking diabetes medication and blood thinners should not use turmeric.
- Capsaicin Cream
Cayenne pepper contains active compound called capsaicin, which is a natural pain reliever. Studies proved that capsaicin helps deplete the substance P levels, a neurotransmitter that transports pain signals. All you should do is to apply an ointment or cream that contains 0.025% to 0.075% capsaicin on the affected area, maximum 4 times a day, in a period of 7 days.
Note: you should not apply capsaicin cream or ointment on a broken skin. This compound initially may cause a burning sensation.
Regular physical activity and exercising are important for the sciatica treatment. First, you should begin with exercises to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, and a day or two later you should flare-up of sciatica. On this way you significantly will speed up the recovery process.
Medical experts advise you to perform knee to chest stretch in order to reduce sciatic nerve irritation and to improve your lower back’s flexibility.
How to perform this exercise: first lie down on your back on the floor and stretch your legs (hip-width apart). Make sure to relax your upper body and bend your knee upwards while breathing in. Slowly pull your thigh towards your chest with your hands clasped behind it, as far as you can. Check if your leg is flat on the ground. Remain in this position for about 20 seconds. It is important to make controlled and deep breaths. After that, lower your leg carefully. Repeat the same procedure with the other leg. Make 3-5 repetitions with both legs, for about 3-5 minutes. Other exercises that will help you to lower back and sciatica pain are certain yoga poses: pigeon pose and cat-cow pose. Also, you can try spinal decompression exercises.
Note: it is highly advisable to consult specialist in order to get appropriate exercise program for your condition.
- White Willow Bar
Scientific studies showed that bark of white willow provides long-lasting pain relief. Namely, this bark contains olic glycosides with salicin and that makes it powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory substance. In order to achieve best results you should take 120 milligram of white willow supplement or 240 milligrams of salicin per day in period of several weeks. Before you take any supplements you should consult with medical expert.
- Valerian Root
The root of Valerian herb has the ability to relieve chronic nerve pain. Studies proved that it is particularly efficient in reducing sciatica pain caused by a muscle spasm. Namely, the valerian root contains volatile oils which will relax the muscles and in same time will reduce tension. Very often, it is used as a sleeping aid. In order to relieve sciatica pain you should take valerian root supplements, 150 milligrams – 3 times a day in period of few. However, as it is mentioned above, you should consult medical expert before taking the supplements.
Another option is to prepare valerian tea. All you should do is to boil 1 cup of water and add 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root and leave it steep for 10 minutes. Drink this natural tea few times a week in period of several weeks.
Acupuncture is efficient form of alternative medicine that relaxes the muscles and thus relieve sciatica pain. This method will help your body heal on its own. It is considered that when certain acupuncture points are stimulated, in same time the central nervous system is stimulated and that causes releasing of chemicals, which either produce a sense of well-being, or change the perception of pain.
According to a study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2009, warmed acupuncture with heated needles efficiently reduces sciatica pain. This study included 30 participants, out of which 17 got complete relief sciatica after acupuncture treatment.
Note: you should always go to a skilled and experienced acupuncturist in order to get an acupuncture treatment.
- Spinal Manipulation
Chiropractic care is popular natural treatment for back and neck pain. Chiropractic spinal manipulation is combination of various techniques that include short and rapid thrusts. This technique is efficient in soothing the irritation of the nerve that is responsible for inflammation and other sciatica symptoms.
Back in 2010, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics has published a study in which 60 % of the participants who were suffering from sciatica have gained benefits from spinal manipulation. It is important to highlight that this method has the same extent as a surgical intervention could have provided. It is important to consult a chiropractor in order to get a proper treatment for sciatica pain.
- Fenugreek Seeds
In order to relieve your sciatica pain you can prepare a poultice from fenugreek. The fenugreek seeds have anti-inflammatory properties. You can use this poultice to ease gout pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
How to prepare fenugreek poultice: take a handful of fenugreek seeds and some milk. First grind the seeds, add them into a pot and then add some milk. Put the mixture to boil until you get a mushy paste. Apply the resulted mixture on the affected area as a poultice and leave it act for a few hours. After that, wash it off. Apply fenugreek poultice once a day until you notice relief.