Sciatica pain originates from the static nerve that runs down your lower back and along your hips through to your legs. Complications from this nerve most commonly crops up when the spine is in some way damaged. The most common causes are herniated discs, narrowing of the spine, or bone spurs pressing on the spine. The resulting tension be can quite severe and unfortunately are largely non-operable to do the risk associated with spinal surgery.
The good news is that there are at-home habits you can form which should help with your sciatica. Keep in mind these remedies only compliment prescribed treatments and may not entirely diminish. If any of these remedies produce more problems, then stop immediately.
Cold and Warm Therapy
It is well recognized among the medical community that cold and warm therapy, also called heat therapy, can reduce sciatica issues. This often entails placing a heating device such as an electric heating pad, heat patch, or warmed sock filled with rice (yes this works and retains heat well). By placing the heating device specifically on the lower rear pelvic region, tension can be reduced. The heat causes the blood vessels to dilate and supply more blood to the region in addition to more oxygen and nutrients. Furthermore, heat therapy helps to reduce muscles tensions and therefore decreases instances of muscle spasms. This can also reduce tightness which could be restricting motion in your lower back.
There are also several stretches that can help strengthen your muscles and reduce pain in the lower pelvic region. Some yoga techniques like the reclining pigeon are especially effective here. This position helps to open the hips up and has many of the same benefits as heat therapy, just in a different form! Begin by laying on your back, then lift your right leg to a 90 degree angle. Grip both hands behind the thigh and lock your fingers. Then, lift your left leg and place your right ankle on top of the left knee. Now hold this pose for 30 seconds or longer and repeat on each leg. There are also other positions that will help such as the knee to opposite shoulder, forward pigeon pose, standing hamstring stretch and many more!
Some essential oils can help alleviate muscle tension and reduce issues. For instance, research has found that eucalyptus oil has a "cooling" effect on muscles and therefore reduces tense areas. Other oils like yarrow oil and lavender also show promise.
When to visit a doctor
Fortunately most cases of sciatica are only mild and will go away with time and home treatment. However, in some cases your issues may last longer than a week or two and become more severe. In those instances, you will need to seek professional medical help. You should especially see a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Sudden and severe lower back pain
- Trouble controlling your bladder or bowels
- Problem follows an injury that affected your lower back