sciatica nerve explainedAre you asking yourself – how to treat sciatic nerve pain? If you are suffering from sciatic nerve pain, you are not alone. 4 out of 10 people get the condition. It is caused by a herniated disk trapping the sciatic nerve in the lower back. The pain starts here and travels along the nerve down the back of one buttock or thigh. Usually, the buttocks and legs are affected more than the back.

The pain can vary. You may feel a mild ache, a sharp burning sensation, or severe discomfort.  You could also get a numb or tingling feeling.  You may feel a weakness in the calf muscles.  Sciatic pain can last for up to 6 weeks or even more.  It can be debilitating so it is important to know how to treat sciatic nerve pain.

 

How to Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain

Medication

  • Over-the-counter pain killers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin (Bufferin) or Bayer Aspirin), or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), ketoprofen, or naproxen (Aleve) can help ease the pain.

These medications aren’t suitable for everyone. They can cause significant side effects in some people. Read the leaflet and check with your doctor or physician.

  • Prescription analgesics can be prescribed by your physician if you are suffering severe pain.
  • Painful muscle spasms may occur due to the slipped disk. Muscle relaxants and antidepressants can be prescribed.   They relax the muscle but note that they don’t help with the pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve.

 

Herbal Preparations

Another way to treat sciatic nerve pain would be to use herbal treatments, they have been proved effective in relieving this kind of pain. Always read the accompanying leaflet and follow the guidelines.

St. John’s Wort Oil

St. John’s Wort Oil, commonly known to be effective in the treatment of depression, this herb also relieves sciatic nerve pain.  It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps regenerate nerve tissue.  Apply the oil two or three times a day.  It should not be taken with prescribed anti-depressants.

Devil’s Claw

Devils Claw decrease the inflammation and swelling associated with sciatica. The medicinal ingredient comes from the dried roots of the plant. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not use it.  Anyone who suffers with peptic ulcers or takes blood-thinning medications should also avoid it.

Turmeric

Turmeric helps relieve sciatic nerve pain by lowering the levels of enzymes that cause inflammation.  It has been used for centuries in India as a food and a medicine.  Drink it as a tea or add to your cooking. You can also apply it as a paste to the painful area.

Jamaican Dogwood

This herbal remedy, jamaican dogwood, is derived from the bark of the dogwood tree and is used to relieve nerve pain.  You can take it in capsule form or use as a tincture. Conventional medicine agrees about its effectiveness.  It is a powerful substance that should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women or anyone suffering from a congestive heart condition.

Garlic

Used since ancient times, garlic contains a compound called Allicin that has many medicinal qualities.  As an anti-inflammatory, it is effective in the management of sciatic nerve pain.  Use it in cooking or make a drink by crushing 2-4 raw cloves and adding warm milk.

 

Movement

Don’t lie in bed all day. You may think it will ease the pain but it’s been shown that prolonged bed rest can make matters worse.  Rest is important in the early stages but you need to move as much as you can. Listen to your body.

  • Avoid bending and lifting. Don’t sit in a low, soft chair.
  • Lie on your back on a firm surface with a pillow under your knees or on your one side with a pillow between your knees. Both these positions keep the back straight.
  • Take short walks (15-20-minutes). Try to be as active as possible. Exercise increases blood flow to the disk and the nerve and helps get rid of the compounds causing the inflammation. If walking hurts too much, try swimming or water aerobics as the water supports the back. Gentle stretching can also help.
  • If you’ve had to take time off work because of sciatica, you should aim to return to work as soon as possible.

 

Ice and Heat

Ice and/or heat packs can help alleviate sciatic pain.

Apply a cold pack to the area to help ease the pain. If you don’t have a cold pack, you can use a large bag of frozen vegetables instead. Take care to avoid burns – remember ice burns too.

You can alternate with heat from an electric heating pad. (Don’t sleep with a heating pad on your skin. It could cause a bad burn).

Apply an ice pack or a heating pad as needed for 15 -20 minutes and repeat every 2 hours.

If there is no improvement after 6 weeks, or the pain seems to be getting worse, you should speak to your physician.

Try some of these simple and effective pain relief ideas.  Knowing how to treat sciatic nerve pain can help you cope with this painful condition.