The term sciatica refers to pain in the leg usually caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. It is usually a tense pain traveling from the lower back to the buttock and down the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. The usual symptoms are tingling and burning sensation in the leg and severe pain causing difficulties in sitting or standing up or even the feeling of numbness in the affected leg and toes.
This pain usually occurs as a result of a herniated or slipped disc. Spinal injuries or infections, pregnancy, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome and isthmic spondylolisthesis can also be causes for the appearance of sciatica.
Sciatica can be treated with various traditional treatments such as steroid injections, but these treatments have a temporary effect and can also cause some unwanted consequences.
There are number of home remedies and therapies that can help in alleviating the pain and very often in most of the cases 6 weeks after using some of these natural therapies, the problem goes away.
- Using Compresses (hot or cold)
The use of hot or cold compresses is a great way to calm sciatica inflammation and pain. The heat treatment acts in a way that lowers the tension of the muscles that may be compressing the sciatic nerve. Cold treatment on the other hand decreases the swelled part around the nerve and calms the pain.
Using heat and cold alternately is also another possible way for calming the pain. Bear in mind that when using a hot compress you should use moist heat because it has a bigger effect.
Put a hot or cold compress on the painful area and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure for couple of hours until you feel an improvement.
Another useful natural remedy that has great anti-inflammatory properties is the turmeric. The compound that turmeric consist helps in reducing nerve pain and inflammation is known as curcumin.
You need 1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of turmeric to prepare this homemade remedy. After boiling the solution you can also flavor this drink by adding cinnamon stick and honey. Drink this once or twice every day until there are visible results.
Taking 250 to 500 mg turmeric supplements is also an option. Take them three times a day for a couple of weeks, but first you must consult your physician.
- Different kinds of massages
Sciatica pain can also be relieved by the good old massage therapy. This therapy is excellent for calming the pain by simply heating the body and is especially effective if the pain is caused by a muscle spasm.
You can also use one cup of sesame oil and three tablespoons of nutmeg powder. After heating the mixture, leave it to cool and massage the painful area when the oil is warm enough. Do this massage few times a day for a couple of weeks.
Since the pain in the lower back, buttocks and leg is connected with trigger points in the minimus muscles and gluteus medius, you should also consider a trigger-point massage therapy which can be very useful.
- Doing Exercises
Being active and having a rest when needed is very important when you suffer from sciatica. It is very facilitating for dealing with the pain to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles by doing proper exercises. Exercises like: floor twists, knees rocking, backblock, back extensions, knee to- chest stretches and certain yoga poses.
But first you need to consult your doctor in order to get the proper exercise program.