Simple home remedies and stretches to relieve sciatica pain
Sciatica pain refers to the pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve; the nerve which extends from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and further down towards each leg.
This pain usually affects only one side of your body. This typical pain can be mild to severe.
It can be caused by direct pressure to the sciatic nerve or even injury to the hip or pelvic area.
People who have severe sciatica along with leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes can be candidates for surgery. On the other hand, mild simple cases can be resolved with non-operative treatments in a few weeks.
Regardless of the cause, you can treat your sciatica at home.
If you have sciatica pain and you think that sitting or resting your back on your easy chair will heal all the pain, you might be wrong.
It is quite okay to rest for a couple of days after the pain initiates, but lying on the bed for long usually makes things worse and not better. Adequate movement helps relieve pain in many ways.
- Movement creates flexibility
- Your attention is diverted and perception of pain is reduced too
- It strengthens your muscles
- Movement supports your spine
- Adequate movement increases blood flow to all the injured areas thus speeding up recovery
However, if moving makes the pain worse, you should see a medical practitioner at once.
2. Hot and cold packs
Initially you should use ice packs. Place the ice pack on the sciatic nerve area to reduce inflammation.
Always wrap a thin napkin or a cloth around the ice pack to avoid frostbite. This should be done for no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
An ice massage can also be useful. Freeze water in a paper or a thermocol cup. In a circular motion, massage the lower back with ice. Avoid massaging the bony part of the spine.
On the other hand, Heat application boosts blood flow to the area, thus providing relief. Heat also loosens the muscles to allow for gentle stretching.
You can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad on your lower back .Heat application should not be for more than 20 minutes
3. Anti-inflammatory medication
Taking anti- inflammatory medicines also help ease the pain.
Maintaining a correct posture while sitting down and standing is equally important.
5. Stretches for sciatica pain
Always remember, relying on the YouTube videos and Google information does not necessarily mean that you too can perform the exercises shown. Avoid replicating them, because the people performing it are doing it for years
Remember doing any stretch that can rotate the hip provides some relief
6. Following exercises can be useful
- Pigeon pose in sitting position- Sit on the floor and stretch both your legs. Blend your right leg and place it on your left knee. Touch your forehead towards your thigh. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Pigeon pose in reclining position- Stay on your back and bring your right leg to a right angle. Join both the hands by locking the fingers. Also lift your left leg and place it on the top of right knee. This stretch presses against the sciatic nerve and stretches the tiny piriformis muscles
- Forward bending pigeon pose- Kneel down. Lift your right leg and move it in front of your body, while your left leg should be on the ground. Your right foot should be in front of your left knee. Also, stretch your left leg behind you on the floor. Top of the foot should be on the ground and your toes should be pointing backwards. You should be sitting up straight with your hands on the side of your legs. In this way, your legs will be supporting all your body weight.
- Sitting down spinal stretch- Sit down on the ground with your legs extended and feet flexed upwards. Lift your right knee and place it across the left knee. Now gently turn towards your right placing your left elbow outside the right knee. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds.
- Standing hamstring stretch- Take a chair or a small table .Place your right foot on it or even below your hip level. Flex your foot keeping your toes and legs straight. You can slightly bend your knees if uncomfortable. Bend your body slightly towards your elevated foot. Don’t push yourself too far to feel the pain. Repeat this stretch on your other leg after holding this stretch for 30 seconds.
Your primary goal should be to restore function and make the patient independent. The clue to this is Physical therapy, strong core and yoga.
Gentle stretches that target the lower back and hips improves the range of motion and reduces sciatica pain.
When your sciatica pain flares up, try these above simple stretches. Also some lifestyle modification can significantly help reduce your risk of getting the pain again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids . She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.