What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a common condition that causes radiating pain down the legs and buttocks. In some cases, this pain can be debilitating. Anyone who is experiencing sciatic nerve pain should schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider for guidance and diagnosis. However, what many people don’t realize is that mild to moderate sciatica pain can go away within 3 months with some non-invasive treatments. Consider these 3 home remedies for improving leg pain and sciatica.
1. Stretch it out
Exercising can be a challenge when someone is in pain. But regular, gentle exercise will improve symptoms. Try walking around the block and performing some simple stretches daily. Reclined pigeon, pulling the knees to the chest, and standing hamstring stretches are all excellent options. At-home yoga can also be beneficial. Be careful, however, not to do too much too fast. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine.
2. Try hot and cold
Hot and cold therapy is a tried and true remedy for immediate pain relief. Ice helps decrease inflammation, and heat increases blood flow to speed up healing. Alternating ice and heat packs can also reduce the muscle spasms that often come with sciatica. Try alternating 15 minutes of cold with 15 minutes of heat every 2-3 hours. Remember to always use a barrier like a towel to protect the skin from extreme temperatures.
3. Optimize your posture
Staying in one position for too long can cause sciatic pain to spike. Consider optimizing workspaces with ergonomic furniture. When seated, plant both legs firmly on the floor and sit up tall with the shoulders down. Many people will need to adjust the workstation so that screens are at eye-level. People can also benefit from getting up and moving for a few minutes every hour.
When should I see a doctor?
When these at-home remedies are not enough, a doctor or spine specialist can provide further treatment. If the pain is severe or the pain is accompanied by weakness, tingling, or numbness, schedule an appointment with a spine specialist.
Other treatment options
A spine specialist may recommend steroid injections or even surgery for sciatica pain. Surgical options might include a laminectomy to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or an operation to remove a herniated disc. Typically, a physician will only recommend surgery when other treatment options are not working to improve symptoms. For more information about sciatica relief, schedule an appointment with a spine specialist.