5 Ways to Ease Your Sciatica Pain

5 Ways to Ease Your Sciatica Pain

Sciatica is a type of low back pain that extends down your left or right buttock, into your leg, and even all the way to your foot. The pain can be intense in some cases. Conservative treatment is the first step in addressing sciatic nerve pain, and there are things you can do to ease your sciatica at home.

Here at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD, specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery to address a full range of spinal issues, including sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve that travels through your body. With sciatica, the nerve becomes compressed usually from something like a bulging spinal disc, which irritates the nerve. The result is pain, abnormal sensation, and discomfort.

In most cases, sciatica improves with nonsurgical treatment, such as steroid injections. When more conservative treatments fail to relieve your symptoms, minimally invasive surgery to relieve sciatic nerve compression can bring much needed pain relief. 

But first, try our tips for easing your sciatica pain at home. If you’re still struggling with sciatic nerve pain, schedule a visit with Dr. Jones to discuss your options. 

Alternate ice and heat

Hot and cold therapy are often effective at relieving sciatic nerve pain. Heat increases blood flow to the damaged area, while ice helps to relieve inflammation (which speeds healing). Sciatica is often accompanied by severe muscle spasms, which heat and cold can help.

Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes every hour to the sore area, then heat for 15 minutes every two or three hours. When utilizing heat or ice therapy, always use a barrier — such as a towel — to protect your skin. 

Practice good posture 

Poor posture can contribute to or exacerbate sciatica symptoms. Walking in a hunched position with your shoulders rounded and back curved shifts your weight and places added stress on your spine. This causes an overload on certain joints, triggering your muscles to work harder to support your spine. 

Keeping your spine in a neutral position relieves pressure on your joints and muscles and stabilizes your spine. Additionally, sitting too much in the same position and using poor posture when sitting contributes to back problems.

Relieve inflammation with NSAIDS 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) sold over the counter may help relieve sciatica symptoms. NSAIDs are a suitable option because they address both inflammation and discomfort. 

Do some gentle stretches

Performing regular gentle stretches can go a long way in improving sciatica pain. Stretching is a great approach to increase spinal flexibility and range of motion while also strengthening your core and back. Most stretches for improving sciatica pain are simple enough to do at home while you read or watch TV. 

Incorporate light exercise

While it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you're in pain, resting too much can aggravate your back and leg pain. Instead, to relieve your sciatica, add light activity to your daily routine. Gentleness is the key: Stop if a movement causes you pain.

Walking is a good place to start. A walk around the block is an excellent example of physical activity that strengthens and stabilizes your spine. 

We can help you find relief from your sciatica. To get started, give us a call to schedule a visit with Dr. Jones at either location in Pearland or Jackson, Texas. You can also take advantage of telemedicine and never miss an appointment. 

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