Sciatica is a surprisingly common cause of back pain. It occurs when pressure is placed upon the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower spine to the feet. The pain caused by sciatica can be quite severe at times, to the point of being debilitating.
As with all back pain, getting an accurate diagnosis of your condition is crucial so that you receive the right treatment. Ealy diagnosis and treatment of sciatica is advisable to prevent the condition from worsening and become more difficult to treat.
In this post, our Ealing chiropractor shares some of the most effective techniques for reducing sciatica pain. However, it is advisable to seek the advice of your doctor or chiropractor if the pain has lasted for a few weeks, is getting worse or is stopping you from doing your normal activities.
How To Deal With Sciatica Pain
#1 – Gentle Low Intensity Exercise
If you are dealing with sciatic pain, you first instinct might be to take some paracetamol and lay on the couch. However, in most cases, getting up and moving about is a much better response.
Exercise will help you deal with sciatica pain in several ways. It will:
- Strengthen the muscles in the core and back which support the spine
- Release endorphins, which are hormones that act as a natural painkiller
- Promote blood flow, which can hasten the healing process and help your body eliminate toxins
However, before you jump into your favourite tracksuit, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. You shouldn’t exercise if your pain level is severe or if you are experiencing extreme tingling, numbness, or sensitivity to touch. If your sciatica is this bad, see a doctor or chiropractor in Ealing immediately.
If you haven’t exercised in a while or have health problems, you should also have a chat with your doctor before commencing a new exercise program. It’s always a good idea to start with low intensity exercises like walking, cycling, or water therapy. Ease into your exercise program and see how it affects your sciatica symptoms.
#2 – Take Medication
Ask your pharmacist about medication that could help relieve the pain. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medicines that are often recommended to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Although these are commonly used, they are not suitable for everyone and can cause side effects.
#3 – Deep Tissue Massage
Massage is a wonderful way to release any muscular tension which may be contributing to your sciatica. It can also improve blood flow to the muscles in your lower back, which can reduce your pain levels and restore mobility.
#4 – Change Your Diet
If your sciatica is related to inflammation in the lower back, you may benefit from a change in diet. There are several foods which can reduce inflammation, including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Soluble and insoluble fibre
- Whole grain foods
- Fatty fish (salmon, lake trout, sardines, albacore tuna)
- Foods high in the natural polyphenol curcumin, like turmeric
- Green tea and black tea
- Water (water is wonderful for reducing inflammation)
There are a variety of supplements which can also be useful, including Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, and Fish oil.
You may need to avoid foods that increase inflammation as well. Reduce your consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugar, trans fats, alcohol, and hydrogenated oils.
#5 – Stretch Throughout The Day
Stretching can be very helpful for combatting the symptoms of sciatica. It can improve your spinal flexibility, strengthen the spine’s supporting muscles, and improve your range of motion. It can also result in the release of endorphins, which will reduce your pain levels.
Get into the habit of stretching when you wake in the morning and just before you go to bed. You can also stretch during the day while at work or relaxing in front of the television. This video shares a few great stretches.
#6 – Hot/Cold Therapy
Alternating between hot and cold therapy can often provide pain relief and help the healing process. Use cold therapy when you need to reduce the inflammation in your back then switch to hot therapy whenever you are feeling very stiff.
#7 – Improve Your Posture
Take a closer look at the quality of your posture to determine if it is contributing to your sciatica. By simply standing straighter or spending less time hunched over in a chair, you may be able to take some pressure off your sciatic nerve.
#8 – Obtain Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic treatments can be effective at relieving the symptoms of sciatica. A chiropractor can perform adjustments to the spine to ensure it is correctly aligned, which can take pressure off the sciatic nerve and provide pain relief. Chiropractors can also offer soft tissue therapy and physical rehabilitation, which can relieve inflammation and improve the healing process.
#9 – Know When To See A Doctor
It’s important to understand that sciatica can cause permanent nerve damage if it becomes severe. If your home therapies are not working and you experience the following symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible:
- Nerve-related symptoms including numbness, tingling, electric shock pain, muscular weakness
- Severe pain in your back or legs
- A loss of bladder or bowel control
- Pain that isn’t improving, even after using home therapies or seeing a chiropractor
- Pain levels that are constantly increasing
Visiting Our Ealing Chiropractors
If you are in pain or discomfort our team of professional chiropractors at The Spine & Joint Centre in Ealing are here to help you.
Chiropractic has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of back pain and along with staying active may well be the best solution for treating your back pain. Unlike painkillers, chiropractic treats the cause of your pain rather than just the pain itself.
With 4 out 5 people suffering low back pain at some point of their lives, Chiropractic treatment along with staying active may well be the best solution. Chiropractic, unlike painkillers, treats the cause of the pain rather than just the pain itself.
To book an appointment with one of our chiropractic team, call our clinic on 020 8900 9004.