Sciatica is a common problem that can cause severe pain, numbness, and tingling in an around the back and legs. Sciatica can be caused by a number of different health conditions, some of which need appropriate medical treatment, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from your doctor before trying self-help measures.
Most cases of sciatica will improve within six to eight weeks. However, some people will continue to experience symptoms for several months. Once your doctor has ruled out serious medical conditions, there are several things you can do to speed up your recovery from sciatica.
Painkillers and topical pain relief can help to alleviate the pain of sciatica. For mild to moderate cases, over-the-counter pain relief, topical creams, gels containing ibuprofen, and other painkilling properties can be useful. However, for more severe pain, you may need prescription painkillers and other medication to help control the symptoms.
Doctors can also prescribe other treatments to ease nerve pain and muscle spasms. Some types of antidepressants, muscle relaxants and drugs used for epilepsy can help in certain cases. If other treatments fail to relieve the pain, spinal injections may be offered by your doctor or specialist.
Yoga can be a very effective way to relieve sciatica pain. It is widely known that yoga increases circulation, increase flexibility, and lengthens muscles. But, there are certain poses that can relieve the tingling, pain, and discomfort of sciatica, including Bharadvaja’s Twist, Bound Angle Pose, Cobra Pose, Dolphin Pose, Downward Dog, Half Moon, and my favorite Seated Spinal Twist. Get yourself a cushioned yoga mat, head to your local yoga studio, and arrive a few minutes early to let your yoga instructor know about your sciatica pain so they can help tailor the practice specifically to your needs.
Self-help measures can be effective in mild to moderate cases of sciatica. Short-term bed rest can be helpful for some people. However, long-term bed rest and inactivity can lead to a weakening of the muscles that help to support the back. Using a special pillow for tailbone pain can be tremendously helpful in reducing the pressure while sitting at work or driving. Walking, cycling, yoga, and swimming are great activities to keep the back flexible.
If severe pain prevents you from regular exercise, try performing a few gentle stretching exercises once or twice a day. This will help to prevent muscle spasms and other problems caused by inactivity. A good TENS unit for sciatica can be particularly helpful with this type if pain. Hot and cold compresses can also help to ease pain and muscle spasms.
Using physiotherapy can help to correct back problems caused by poor posture and repetitive movements. Physiotherapy can also help to build strength and flexibility in the back and surrounding muscles, which will reduce the risk of your sciatica symptoms returning. A qualified physiotherapist can identify problems with your spine, back muscles and other areas that may be causing pain. Simple exercises can then be used to correct the problem and increase your flexibility.
In the majority of cases, sciatica symptoms will start to improve within a few weeks. Thus no further treatment will be needed. However, some people may require spinal surgery to fix the problem. If symptoms become progressively worse, contact your doctor or ask to see a specialist. You may need to consider a surgical solution.