Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks. People who have severe sciatica that’s associated with significant leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes might be candidates for surgery.
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.
Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, usually by a herniated disk in your spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on your vertebrae. More rarely, the nerve can be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease such as diabetes.
Age. Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs, are the most common causes of sciatica.
Obesity. By increasing the stress on your spine, excess body weight can contribute to the spinal changes that trigger sciatica.
Occupation. A job that requires you to twist your back, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods might play a role in sciatica, but there’s no conclusive evidence of this link.
Prolonged sitting. People who sit for prolonged periods or have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica than active people are.
Diabetes. This condition, which affects the way your body uses blood sugar, increases your risk of nerve damage.
Natural Ways to Heal Sciatic Pain
Bed rest has been traditionally advocated for the treatment of acute sciatica. Some other ways to heal the pain are:
Hot and cold compresses
A hot pack on your lower back and spine area can help to relax the tense muscles and improves the circulation. You can either use a steamed towel or simply sit in a tub of warm water for 15-20 minutes. Do this twice a day and you will be able to feel the pain ease away sooner than normal.
Ice packs on the affected area for 10-15 minutes helps in decreasing the swelling around the nerve and also numbs the pain.
If you suffer from sciatica, the conventional spa-kind-luxurious massages are no good for you. The effective massage for sciatica is trigger-point massage.
Pressure is applied on the inflamed areas of the spine without actually massaging it. It is painful but provides reasonable relief from the pain. This pressure point massage done once in 7 to 10 days helps release tension, stimulate circulation and increase the range of motion.
The core of chiropractic care are spinal adjustments. Manipulation of the spine frees restricted movement and helps to restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spinal column. Spinal manipulations help to calm the agitated and inflamed nerves, and in turn relax the muscle spasm. Ideally, spinal manipulations are not painful and are definitely effective.
Topical oils or creams
Among the many oils and creams available for pain, the most effective in my experience are Capsaicin or cayenne pepper cream and St. John’s Wort Oil. They are fantastic natural pain relievers. They can be applied twice or thrice daily for as long as required for effective pain relief. Just one word of caution: do not apply it on cuts or open wounds.
Homeopathy has effective treatment options for sciatica. The remedies are made from natural resources, are side-effect free and extremely effective. There are more than 100 remedies in its repertoire to choose from – Colocynth, Rhus-Tox, Pulsatilla, Hypericum, Aconite to name a few.