9 Secrets to Get Sciatic Nerve to Stop Hurting
If you are suffering from sciatica, you have one thing on your mind right now, how to get rid of sciatica pain fast! While some people might confuse sciatic pain with general low back pain, they aren’t the same thing.
You aren’t alone, either. An estimated 8 or 10 Americans will suffer with sciatica at some point in their life. Low back pain is the #2 reason people visit the emergency room and the #1 cause of job disability’s in the world!
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body, going from the lower back, through the buttocks, down the legs, and ending just below the knee joint. The sciatic nerve controls multiple muscles in the lower legs and gives you feeling and sensations to the skin of the foot, as well as most of your lower leg.
You might have heard people complain about or say that they suffer from “sciatica”, but this is actually a symptom and not a condition.
Unfortunately, most hospitals and doctors will simply give you addictive, liver damaging pain killers and tell you to rest. This is one of the most destructive things you can do.
You don’t need opioids and you don’t need more than 48 hours of rest, what you need are real solutions to solve your sciatica pain.
Keep reading and let’s find out how you can get rid of sciatica!
How do you get your sciatic nerve to stop hurting?
Let’s look at the 9 secrets you can use to get rid of sciatica pain fast.
Secret #1: Home Remedies
Before MRI’s and over the counter pain relievers, people relied on a variety of home remedies to stop the pain of sciatica. While these won’t fix the problem causing the pain, these can provide temporary relief. Some of the more successful home remedies include:
- Alternating hot and cold compresses to the lower back
- Massaging a mixture of ginger essential oil to equal part of coconut or olive oil into the lower back.
- Drink two or three cups of valerian or chamomile tea to stop muscle spasms.
- Soaking in a bath with apple cider vinegar and Epsom salts.
- Rub a cream containing at least 0.025% capsaicin on the affected area.
- Try a tincture called Harshiangar, which contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds. This remedy comes to us from Ayurvedic medicine and can be found in many Indian specialty stores.
Herbal, natural anti-inflammatories are also recommended. More information on these can be found in secret #4.
Secret #2: Mindful Meditation
You might be rolling your eyes at this one, but that simply means that you have never tried mindful meditation to control chronic pain. We understand if you’re skeptical, everyone is before they try it.
While this practice won’t heal an underlying problem, it is a way to help control pain, especially chronic pain and it is scientifically proven. Even those who only “dabbled” in this type of meditation found substantial pain relief, so you don’t even have to be a guru to reap the benefits.
Mindful meditation is shown to reduce pain levels by as much as 57%. Those who really master the art can reduce their pain by 90%. This works by soothing the brain patterns that are altered by pain, so that you no longer feel pain with the same level of intensity as before.
If you want a more complete explanation of how mindful meditation can help to change the way your brain “observes” pain and how to practice this ancient method, you can find more information here.
Secret #3: Stretching Programs/Yoga
First, if you are experiencing the pain of sciatica, we want to warn you not to do anything, even stretching or yoga, that makes your pain worse.
Yoga is perhaps one of the best ways to not only relieve the pain of sciatica but for preventing its reoccurrence as well, depending on the root cause.
Sciatica is a pain in the butt, literally. What better way to ease the pain than to “work it out”? Yoga will stretch out muscles that are tight and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Some of the best yoga poses for sciatica are:
- Pigeon on a Chair - This is a great stretch for those who cannot lie flat on the floor without pain. Sit in a comfortable chair. Place your right ankle on top of your left knee and try to move the right knee towards the floor. You can apply very light pressure to the right knee with your hand for a deeper stretch. Hold and repeat with the opposite leg.
- Pigeon Pose - Place a folded towel under your behind and thigh on the right side as you cross the right leg in front of you. Place the left leg stretched out directly behind you. If you can, bend down at the waist over your right leg. If you can’t, simply stay in the pigeon pose and feel the stretch. Change sides.
- Cobra - If you can lie on your stomach on the floor without pain, the cobra pose is a good choice. Lie with your palms on the floor under your shoulders, feet together and pointed behind you. Push your torso up off the ground but leave your hips on the floor.
The Piriformis Stretch
If you sit for long periods of time, or if your chiropractor has told you that you have piriformis syndrome, you should work on stretching out this muscle. One of the best stretches is:
- The Warm-Up - Lie on your back (if the floor hurts your back, lie in bed or on the sofa) with your legs out in front of you. Pull your right leg up towards your chest and hold it for a count of 15. Return to the floor and repeat with the left leg. Then, lift both legs towards the chest and hold for another count of 15.
- The Stretch - Lie on your back and bend your knees. Bring your right leg up and put your right ankle on the left knee. Now, gently pull on the right knee towards your left shoulder. Don’t pull too hard, just until you feel the stretch right where the thigh and butt meet. Hold for 30 seconds, then change sides.
There are other stretches you can do, but these two are the most basic and get the job done. Remember not to pull too hard. You should feel just a little stretch. Stop and consult your chiropractor if you feel pain right away.
Secret #4: Anti-Inflammatories
Generally speaking, inflammation is a good thing. It’s a natural response by the immune system, sending out the signal to begin healing. However, chronic inflammation is NOT a good thing and leads to pain and a variety of health issues.
One thing about inflammation is that it causes pain. If you can control inflammation, you will also get some control over the pain of sciatica.
Before we talk about anti-inflammatories, we want to warn you that if you are taking any type of prescription drugs or if you have a health condition, do not consume any type of supplement, no matter how “natural” it might be, until you consult with your doctor, chiropractor, or pharmacist to ensure that you will not have any possibly dangerous drug interactions.
If you aren’t sure about which anti-inflammatories would work best for you, consult with your chiropractor or pharmacist.
There are a great many anti-inflammatory substances in nature, but some of the best include:
- Fish Oil. The oils from cold water fish, such as halibut and cod, are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. A common dosage is 3 grams per day.
- Curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric, a common spice used in Indian cooking. Curcumin is perhaps one of the most well studied herbs ever. The root of the turmeric plant is so powerful that it is recommended for those rheumatoid arthritis, and IBS.
- Ginger. This tasty spice, best known for its ability to ease nausea, is also a potent anti-inflammatory that can also reduce muscle soreness.
- Resveratrol. Yes, this is the antioxidant found in wine, but this doesn’t mean you should drink unlimited quantities of wine, sorry. You need about 150 mgs of this anti-inflammatory substance, which would equal gallons of wine every day. Take a supplement to get lower levels of inflammation, blood sugar, and even triglycerides!
Secret #5: Physical Therapy Modalities & Physical Rehabilitation
One of the great things about physical therapy is that you will learn exercises and stretches to strengthen your muscles to not only stop sciatica pain, but to prevent a reoccurrence.
Physical therapy and chiropractic go hand in hand, which is why most chiropractors offer physical therapy modalities in their clinics.
There are a variety of options that a physical therapist might choose to treat your sciatica, including active treatments, such as stretching, strength training, yoga, and core strengthening exercise programs, or passive therapies, such as ultrasound or chiropractic massage.
Depending on the cause of your sciatica, your physical therapist might suggest less intense exercises and treatment plans, such as walking, swimming, or water aerobics.
Your chiropractor can use multiple physical therapy modalities that work in combination with chiropractic care to treat your pain, find the root cause, and make a treatment plan that works for you, so you can get back on your feet again without the pain of sciatica. If you have sciatica nerve pain while pregnant, seeing a chiropractor along with a physical therapist is even more important.
Secret #6: The Best Exercises for Relief of Sciatica Pain
When you suffer from sciatic pain, the last thing you can think about is exercise, but this is exactly what you will need to do. Resting will help for the first day or two, but after that, you need to get up and get moving. Continuing to simply rest more than just a few days will, believe it or not, make your pain worse and harder to heal.
A few of the most recommended exercises when you have sciatica pain are:
- Swimming - Find a stroke that causes you little or no pain and try to swim without stopping for 20-30 minutes. A heated pool will help!
- Walking - If walking seems too painful at first, try taking smaller steps. We aren’t talking about race walking or jogging, this is not a race or a timed event. Get out and walk at least 30 minutes 5 days per week.
- Water aerobics - You can usually find these classes at your local YMCA or YWCA.
- Foundation Training - These aren’t so much “exercise” as simply teaching our bodies to move in a certain way while we perform everyday tasks. This type of program uses 15 different ways to reduce and prevent pain by optimizing posture.
When your chiropractor approves of it, or when you feel less pain, you can move on to more advanced exercise routines that can strengthen muscles that will help prevent sciatica in the future, including:
- Strength training (weight lifting)
- Elliptical machine
- Low impact aerobics
- Core strengthening exercise routines
If you are unsure which exercise program would be best for your unique situation or what would be safe for you, consult with your chiropractor.
Secret #7: Acupuncture
While the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture might not treat the root cause, studies show that it can stop the pain from chronic sciatica.
By inserting very thin needles into certain parts of the body, the nervous system is said to respond with the release of natural painkillers, such as endorphins, improve blood circulation, and relax the muscles.
Acupuncture cannot heal structural issues that cause sciatica pain, but it can help some people manage their chronic pain.
Secret #8: Chiropractic Massage
There is no doubt that massage therapy has multiple benefits, and for those with sciatica, the pain relief from chiropractic massage can be nothing short of magical.
Under the direction of the chiropractor, the massage therapist will address tight muscles, making them relax and become more flexible. This relieves pressure on the sciatic nerve. Massage also reduces stress, lowers inflammation, as well as reduces pain by stimulating the release of the body’s own natural painkillers, known as endorphins. Chiropractic massage is often recommended for the relief of pain symptoms such as burning sensations in the leg or throbbing pains in the feet. Your chiropractor might suggest a trigger point massage, which is a special type of massage designed to release muscle knots, known as trigger points, for the relief of sciatica pain.
Imagine receiving substantial pain relief from a chiropractic massage that uses no drugs, no injections, and no steroids.
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Secret #9: Chiropractic Care
What is the best treatment for sciatica? In a nutshell, comprehensive chiropractic care.
Chiropractors are specialists in the area of all things to do with the musculoskeletal system of the body, so it makes sense that they would know the best ways to treat the root cause of your pain! Whether it is from a bulging disc or a lumbar subluxation, your chiropractor can diagnose and treat your problem, virtually eliminating sciatica pain for most people.
Here at Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, we have been successfully treating sciatica since 1998 using a variety of modalities. Patients suffering from sciatica's big pain in the behind can count on our same-day chiropractic appointment in Juneau.
You should know that not only do we offer secrets 5, 8, and 9, but our chiropractors can also offer advice about secrets 3, 4, and 6 all in one location!
How to get rid of sciatica pain forever? Of course, this won’t be possible if you suffer from certain health problems, but for most people, regular visits to your chiropractor will keep sciatica pain from ever rearing its ugly head again!
Your local chiropractor can not only perform adjustments to the spine, but they also offer a wide range of other physical modality treatment options, depending on your need, including:
- Ultrasound - This uses soundwaves to create a gentle heat that travels deep into the muscles and surrounding tissues, increasing circulation, reducing muscle spasms, swelling, and pain.
- TENS unit - This modality uses as a small, battery-operated device that sends tiny volts of electricity to stimulate the muscles. This helps stimulate healing while greatly reducing pain.
- Cold Laser - This type of laser treatment uses a very low level of laser light to penetrate deep into tissues, stimulating healing and reducing pain.
Chiropractic care has been proven to be an effective means of treating sciatica. A study done in 2010 found that 60% of those with chronic sciatica pain found as much pain relief using chiropractic care as those who had surgery!
Sciatic pain treatment responds quickly to our exclusive Alaska Back Pain Protocol. This unique approach to treating back pain and sciatica can prevent the need for surgery using holistic, drug-free methods that have worked for thousands of people.
Are you nervous about seeing a chiropractor because of those videos you’ve seen on social media sites that show a lot of cracking going on? Don’t be. Cracking noises aren’t actually bones being cracked but are nothing more than the release of gas trapped in the joints. It’s similar to a soda bottle when you first take off the top.
Your chiropractor will use the minimum amount of force needed to realign your spine so that you can stop hurting and start healing.
If you have never been to a chiropractor and you wonder what an adjustment feels like, you should read this.
Extra Tip-Things NOT to Do When You Have Sciatic Nerve Pain
While this article gives you lots of advice about what you CAN do to stop sciatica pain fast, there are also a few things that you should NEVER do, including:
- DON’T sit down if you can avoid it and if you must sit, do so for as short a time as possible.
- DON’T lie down in the fetal position. It feels good at first, but you are pushing that disc out even further and causing more damage.
- DON’T do exercise that includes things like sit-ups, hamstring stretches, leg circles, or any exercise that makes the pain worse
- DON’T wear high heels.
- DON’T ignore your pain in hopes that it will just go away. It probably won’t.
- DON’T use workout equipment at the gym. Even upper body workouts can cause your pain to flare up. Do natural movements like walking and swimming instead.
If you feel that the information in this article has been helpful, please feel free to share it with others who might benefit from it.
If you are suffering from the pain of sciatica, or if you are experiencing any type of back, neck, shoulder or other types of joint pain, we encourage you to make an appointment at one of our 4 clinics. We will happily check your insurance coverage and answer all your questions.
You don’t have to live in pain! We want to help! Most people worry that visiting a chiropractor might be expensive but that's not true. Learn more about the price of a chiropractor.
Why Is This Happening?
As we mentioned earlier, sciatica is a symptom and not an actual health condition. Sciatica simply means that the sciatic nerve is being compressed or irritated in some way, resulting in pain. The root cause of sciatic pain needs to be diagnosed by a professional, such as a chiropractor. Some of the more common causes of sciatic pain include:
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Lumbar subluxation
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
- Spinal tumor
There are other possible causes, but those are rare. Before your sciatic pain can be relieved, the root cause needs to be determined and addressed.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Common symptoms that the sciatic nerve is being compressed include:
- A shooting pain from the back, through the buttock, and down the back of the leg on either side
- A tingling or pins and needles feeling in the toes and/or feet
- A numbness in the buttock or down the affected leg
- Difficulty walking
- Hip pain
- A burning sensation in the lower back
Sitting for more than a few minutes and then standing usually brings on very intense sciatica nerve pain.
Note: Piriformis Syndrome feels like Sciatica, but It Isn’t.
There is a muscle where the thigh bone meets the buttocks called the piriformis. When this muscle becomes tight, it can irritate the sciatic nerve, causing similar pain, but this isn’t truly sciatica, where the nerve is compressed.
Why does this matter? The treatment for piriformis syndrome and sciatica are different. Your chiropractor will be able to diagnose what the root cause is and whether or not you have sciatica.
What if I just Wait for the Pain to Go Away?
Unfortunately, sciatica pain is so common that many people have come to believe that they can either just “wait it out”, self-treat the problem, or take advice from non-qualified persons about how they “fixed” their sciatica.
While most people have similar pain sensations, everyone is different. Some describe the pain as intermittent and annoying, while others find it intense and absolutely debilitating.
Sciatica rarely goes away on its own without some type of medical assistance and healing program.
Damage to the nerves can happen if the problem is not addressed. Nerve damage can lead to a permanent loss of sensation (a feeling that the leg has fallen asleep but doesn’t “wake up”) or even a loss of bladder or bowel control.
Seeing your chiropractor to determine the cause of your sciatic pain is the best possible option to avoid complications or allowing a small problem to become more severe.
How Long Will It Take for Sciatica to Go Away?
The answer to this question will depend on the root cause. Most people find that with effective treatment, their pain subsides substantially within a few weeks. If the pain becomes chronic due to a health condition, such as spinal stenosis, then pain can merely be controlled and cannot be “cured.”
This is why getting a proper diagnosis from a health care professional matters so much!
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