Tips to Relieve Sciatica Pain

Tips to Relieve Sciatica Pain

  • sciatica pain relief

Sciatica pain radiates along the sciatic nerve, which you may feel through your lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. Sciatic nerve pain can be caused by bone spurs, piriformis syndrome, a bulging disc, and several other conditions. In any case, the result is often symptoms like shooting pain, inflammation, and numbness. 

The pain caused by your sciatic nerve, even if relatively minor, can negatively impact your quality of life. Thankfully, there are easy ways to get your sciatic nerve to stop hurting. Before we discuss the many ways you can relieve your sciatic pain at home, let’s explore sciatica flare-ups and the consequences of ignoring your symptoms. 

Understanding Sciatica

Sciatica typically goes away on its own, improving in 4-6 weeks after symptoms begin. The flare-ups during this period may last between 1-2 weeks at a time. During these weeks, you’ll likely experience many of the symptoms described above, including shooting pain and inflammation. You can ease your pain and discomfort while you recover by making a few changes to your lifestyle and routine. 

Please note, if your sciatica doesn’t go away after 6 weeks, you should speak to a doctor or pain specialist. If you neglect your symptoms and allow them to escalate, you could be at risk of developing permanent nerve damage and cauda equina syndrome (CES). CES is caused by damage to the nerve roots at the lower end of your spinal cord, which can lead to permanent paralysis. 

If you’re still in the early weeks of sciatica pain and simply want to relieve your symptoms, there are many ways of doing so.

How to Relieve Sciatica Pain at Home

Adjust Your Posture

Staying in the same posture for an extended period can worsen your sciatica pain. To ease your symptoms, use proper posture and adjust every 20 minutes or so to take pressure off your spine. When sitting, try to sit up straight with both feet flat on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs, leaning to one side, or sitting near the front of your chair. 

Go for a Walk

There’s been much debate about whether bed rest or walking is better for easing sciatica pain. The answer varies from person to person. Rest is typically a good choice for the first stage of sciatica, immediately after symptoms start. After a few days, however, you should start stretching and then begin walking to reduce inflammation and strengthen your spine. Mobility exercise is ideally the last stage of sciatica recovery before symptoms go away entirely. 

Use Both Heat and Ice

Many assume heat, typically in the form of hot showers, to be the best way of relieving sciatic nerve pain. While heat can help stimulate blood flow and loosen muscles, it could potentially increase inflammation. That’s why you should alternate with an ice pack, as ice therapy can reduce inflammation. 

Do Some Gentle Stretching

Make gentle stretching a part of your daily routine. The right stretches can help improve your range of motion, along with your spinal strength and flexibility. Two of the best stretches to do for sciatica pain are lower trunk rotations and pelvic tilts. Pelvic tilts, in particular, are great for stretching your lower back. 

Remember not to push yourself and to go slowly if you haven’t stretched in a long time or are in considerable pain. If your pain is so severe that you can’t stretch, that’s likely a sign that you need to see a pain specialist. 

Visit a Pain Specialist for Prolonged Sciatica Symptoms

While these tips can help your sciatica pain in the short term, you should seek professional help for prolonged or severe symptoms. For a personalized treatment plan, please visit the pain specialists at Carolinas Pain Center in Charlotte and Huntersville, North Carolina. Our team takes a multidisciplinary approach to treat your sciatica pain in the safest and most effective way possible. 

If you have any questions about our services or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can contact us by calling 704-500-2332, emailing, or filling out our contact form. You’re also welcome to consult the many resources on our website to learn more about your treatment options. 

Benefits of Lower Back Stretches

  • lower back stretches

Your lower back is the area below your ribs and above your buttocks and tailbone. This part of your body has a lot of muscles and tendons and is often prone to injury or stiffness.

Lower back pain can come from trauma, such as a fall. Poor posture, heavy lifting, or unnatural movements, such as twisting your body when bending over to pick something up, can also cause pain.

Lower back stretches are one of the most useful tools for dealing with pain. To get the most benefits, you need to do these stretches daily for at least 15 minutes.

Here is a closer look at the benefits of lower back stretches. 

Why Stretching Is Good for You

Lower back stretches loosen your muscles and reduce the tension around your spine. When it is more relaxed, the lower back is better able to support your upper body and spine. 

Stretching is a non-invasive option for treating lower back pain. You can get relief without injections, medication, or surgery. Also, the more you stretch, the less pain you will feel from tension and tight muscles. You can enjoy steady improvement. Medication or injections will address the symptoms, but not the underlying tightness causing the pain. Stretching, on the other hand, addresses the root of the issue, leading to lasting improvements. 

Lower Back Stretches to Try

The best lower back stretches for your condition or pain prevention goals will depend on your current level of fitness and movement abilities. You will want to start slowly and avoid stretches that could cause other injuries. You can consult a physician or physical therapist to decide which stretches are best for your needs.

Here are some of the most common and effective lower back stretches.

  1. Knee to chest stretch: To perform this stretch, you lie down on your back and slowly bring one knee to your chest. If you can, hold your knee in against your chest for as long as possible. Then, you lower the first leg and raise the other one to your chest, holding it there for the same amount of time as the first leg. This exercise reduces tension and increases motion in the lower back, and it targets the buttocks as well.
  2. Twist your back: To perform this stretch, lie down on your back and bring your knees up at a right angle from your waist. Put your arms out until they form a T-shape with your body. You then turn your knees to the right as far as they can go before repeating with the left side.
  3. Cat and camel: To perform this stretch, get down on all fours and push your back into a hump (like a cat arching its back), then push it back down as far in as it can go. Hold each position for a few seconds before repeating the cycle.
  4. Other exercises like cycling, swimming, walking, calisthenics, and lifting light weights can help strengthen your back muscles to increase support and improve posture.

Tips for Lower Back Stretching

Whenever doing lower back stretches, it is important to observe the following tips in order to achieve the best result.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes to achieve full flexibility when stretching. Sweatsuits or other exercise-specific clothing is preferable, but you can wear any clothing that allows for a full range of motion.
  • Stretch on a clean flat surface. It should be hard enough to support your body. If you have access to a yoga or exercise mat, you can use it for stretches that require you to lay on the floor.
  • Hold your stretches for as long as possible. Harvard Medical School recommends holding each stretch for 60 seconds total. It’s okay to break this minute up into several sets. For example, you could hold your knee to your chest for 20 seconds at a time and repeat the stretch three times.
  • Try to stretch daily for the best results.

You do not have to hurry when stretching. You should move into each position slowly to avoid straining your muscles or causing further pain.

Benefits of Lower Back Stretches

Lower back stretches can bring both direct and indirect benefits. 

  • Stretching helps relieve pain. If you go to a physiotherapist for back pain (or any other type of musculoskeletal issue), they will teach stretches to reduce acute pain and help you avoid chronic issues.
  • Lower back stretches bring results without reliance on medication or invasive treatments. 
  • Some people with back pain change their posture to avoid worse pain. This change could lead to misalignment that could actually cause worse issues in the future. Stretching can deal with the pain that causes this unwanted posture change. If you continue lower back stretches, they can keep help keep your spine and lower back aligned.
  • Stretching can also indirectly impact your overall health. Less tension and better posture can help keep your internal organs properly aligned and ensure proper blood flow from your upper to lower body.
  • Also, extra tension and soreness in the lower back can affect your mental health and overall sense of well-being. If you have chronic pain, you will focus on it instead of enjoying your work, social life, or free time. This can lead to a lower quality of life overall. However, consistent lower back stretches can alleviate the pain and improve your overall mental outlook.

How to Deal with Chronic Back Pain

Carolinas Pain Center can offer treatment for acute pain and support to help you deal with chronic pain and improve the quality of your life. 

Contact Carolina Pain Centers today to find out if they are able to treat your lower back condition. 

How Often You Should Exercise with Chronic Pain

  • chronic pain exercise

Sometimes known as persistent pain, chronic pain describes pain that lasts beyond the expected healing time for an injury. However, the label tends to be applied when someone has been experiencing pain for longer than three to six months. It is one of the most common medical issues in the United States. Left untreated, it can lead to anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, disability, crippling healthcare costs, and overall poor quality of life. 

This chronic pain leads to people wanting to rest and avoid any activity, and until recently, this was the treatment that most doctors advised. However, a growing body of research shows that exercise can actually help with minimizing both the impact and severity of chronic pain. But the wrong exercise can aggravate it, so in this article, we’ll be laying out the most important things you need to know.

Types of Exercise for Chronic Pain

Exercise can help relieve the symptoms of chronic pain by decreasing inflammation, increasing mobility, and lowering your overall pain levels. And because exercise causes the release of natural endorphins, which are the chemicals that improve your mood, it can also ease the depression that dealing with pain on a long-term basis can lead to.

But too much of the wrong exercise can make it worse. This is why anyone suffering from chronic pain should stick to low-impact exercises such as:

  • Walking
  • Swimming and/or water aerobics
  • Stretching and relaxation exercises like yoga
  • Strength training
  • Daily living activities

Which of these is most suitable for your particular circumstances will vary depending on several factors. So, it is always best to consult with your doctor or a pain management specialist before undertaking an exercise regime.

Benefits of Exercise for Chronic Pain

The general health benefits of exercise are well known. It can help with weight management, lead to stronger bones and muscles, reduce the risk of a variety of diseases and ease the symptoms of others, improve mental health, and more. But individuals suffering from chronic pain can enjoy these specific benefits:

  • Reduced inflammation – Exercise can lead to muscles releasing chemicals that reduce pain signals as well as anti-inflammatory cytokines that promote tissue healing.
  • Higher pain tolerance – Some research has found that exercise can change how the brain responds to pain and promote the production of natural analgesics such as serotonin and built-in pain relievers.
  • Reduced fatigue – Physical activity can improve sleep quality and cause the release of endorphins, both of which help reduce feelings of fatigue caused by chronic pain.


Factors such as the origin of your chronic pain, your current mental health, level of flexibility, and degree of pain can all affect which type of low-impact exercise is best for you. A qualified pain specialist like the experts at Carolinas Pain Center has experience with chronic pain and developing personalized exercise programs that will benefit your overall health without aggravating your chronic pain.

Exercise can increase the pain associated with some conditions such as fibromyalgia. But this doesn’t mean that exercise is not a viable treatment option — it only means that you will need to start slow and monitor your symptoms over time.

How Often to Exercise with Chronic Pain

There is no consensus on how much exercise is just right for the treatment of chronic pain. This is because chronic pain is as unique as the people who suffer from it. However, the general recommendation is that doctors prescribe exercise the way they would other medication and that any movement is beneficial — even if that is just getting up and walking to the end of the hall, the garden, or the street every day.

Start Managing Your Pain with Carolinas Pain Center Today

Even though people know how many benefits come with regular exercise, the thought of undertaking any physical activity can be overwhelming when you suffer from chronic pain. But being physically active doesn’t mean that you have to get a gym membership, join formal exercise classes, or start training for the average Olympics.

At Carolinas Pain Center, you’ll have access to specialists with highly specialized training, the latest pain management technologies, and an unrivaled range of pain relief options. Our experts are dedicated to providing comprehensive, caring pain relief and can help you develop a pain management program that is personalized to your needs and abilities.

Book an appointment today to find out how we can help you develop a better quality of life and overcome your chronic pain.

Causes of Chronic Abdominal Pain

  • chronic abdominal pain

Abdominal pain occurs anywhere from your ribs to your pelvis, especially in the stomach area. Acute abdominal pain can be quite common, but when it has been going on for longer than three months, it is considered “chronic” or “ongoing.” Not only can chronic abdominal pain cause serious discomfort and pain, but undiagnosed, it can be worrisome. Here are some of the common causes of chronic abdominal pain and what to do about it.

Symptoms of Chronic Abdominal Pain

Chronic abdominal pain is experienced differently from person to person and may not always have the same symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the belly or around the belly button can feel like a dull ache or sharp pain and can last minutes or hours
  • Pain that occurs any time of the day or night and may or may not be connected to eating
  • Pain in the abdomen that’s accompanied by headaches, vomiting, or pain in the limbs
  • No longer feeling hungry, leading to skipping meals but without losing weight
  • Severe abdominal pain that makes you sweat, bend over in pain, or cry

Even if your symptoms are mild, your abdominal pain may be an early sign of a serious health issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome, which is why you should monitor your symptoms and let your doctor know what you are experiencing.

People also ask, “Is chronic abdominal pain normal?” “How long should abdominal pain last?” What can cause long-term abdominal pain?” About 2% of adults experience chronic abdominal pain, more commonly in women than men. As for how long the pain should last or whether it is “normal,” it depends on the cause. For example, regular abdominal pain could be caused by lactose intolerance or frequent constipation. In which case, a few lifestyle changes may fix the problem. In other cases, it may be pancreatitis causing stomach pain. What does pancreatic pain feel like? Usually, you will feel upper abdominal pain that feels worse after you eat. Acute cases result in abdominal pain radiating to your back and an abdomen that’s tender to the touch. Women can also experience abdominal pain as the result of menstruating, miscarrying, or reproductive complications.

In many cases, the patient has what’s called “centrally mediated abdominal pain syndrome” (formerly known as “functional abdominal pain”), which is chronic abdominal pain that doesn’t appear to be caused by any serious health condition. The doctor may suggest dietary changes or other recommendations. 

Can anxiety cause chronic abdominal pain? Yes — and it can exacerbate the abdominal pain that you have.

What Are the Three Types of Abdominal Pain?

Abdominal pain can be visceral, parietal, or referred. When the pain feels like a dull ache and isn’t really localized, it is visceral pain — caused by nerves running through the organ walls getting stretched. Parietal or “somatic” pain can start as visceral pain. As the disease or condition continues, you can feel sharp, localized pain caused when the parietal peritoneal wall is irritated. Referred pain is when your brain thinks pain is occurring from one place when, in fact, it comes from a different region of the body.

When to See a Doctor for Chronic Abdominal Pain

Many people ask, “When should I be concerned about abdominal pain?” If you experience the following symptoms along with your abdominal pain, you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • A high fever
  • Pain or cramping strong enough that it wakes you up
  • Blood in your urine, stool, or vomit
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, and/or inability to keep food down for several days
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Jaundice
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen
  • Marked loss of appetite or otherwise unexplainable and rapid weight loss
  • Pain lasting for several days or is the result of injury to your abdomen within a few days
  • The abdomen is tender to the touch
  • This abdominal pain occurs during pregnancy

These symptoms may indicate internal infection, inflammation, or bleeding that need to be treated as quickly as possible. Though less common, some of the symptoms could be caused by abdominal, ovarian, or colorectal cancer. That’s why it is best to see a doctor and to discern the cause of your abdominal pain.

Treatment Options for Chronic Abdominal Pain

How do you treat chronic stomach pain? It really depends on the reason for your abdominal pain. If your chronic abdominal pain is caused by a medical condition, you may need to treat the underlying condition. An infection will likely be treated with antibiotics. Ulcers, inflammations, and gastroesophageal reflux disease are usually treated with medicine. Appendicitis, hernia, or other serious conditions may require surgery.

If, however, your doctor has given you tests and can’t find a particular cause, the treatment is focused on minimizing discomfort and can include:

  • Dietary changes to add more fiber or fiber supplements
  • Stress management and managing anxiety with relaxation and mindfulness, medication, counseling, or other methods
  • Medications for pain relief

People also ask, “What is the best painkiller for abdominal pain?” and “What is the best medicine for abdominal pain?” Most over-the-counter medications work just fine. Follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Chronic abdominal pain can be confusing because there are so many possible causes. Do not wait to “see what happens”. Schedule an appointment to get checked by a physician to rule out any serious causes.