Tips to Relieve Sciatica Pain

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 info@carolinaspaincenter.com, 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.