Massage is a wonderful way to loosen up tension and tightness in muscles and tendons; it can decrease painful nerve inflammation because it promotes blood circulation. Massaging the buttocks and back of the legs can ease sciatic nerve tenderness as well as relaxing any built up tension from the pain caused by a pinched or stressed sciatic nerve. Having one massage will give only temporary relief, but regular massages can help greatly for pain relief and relaxation. Although beneficial, deep tissue massage can be quite painful, but having a warm bath directly after can ease the immediate massage pain as your body adjusts.
2. Hot and cold
It’s not one or the other, but both hot and cold compresses can help ease the sciatic pain. The hot treatment works to relax muscles that may be pressing on the nerve. For this to work, a heat lamp, hot compress or hot pack needs to be placed on the affected area repeatedly every two to three days. Cold treatments reduce swelling around the compressed nerve and work to numb the pain. Ice packs or even a bag of frozen vegetables can be placed on the affected area for up to 20 minutes, several times throughout the day. Either of these techniques is beneficial to sciatic pain, but one or the other may not be right for you. The only way to know is to test them both out.
The eastern treatment of acupuncture has been proven to lessen muscle spasms caused by sciatica. It encourages blood flow and circulation and is considered a safe and gentle alternative for pain management. Acupuncture is unable to heal the issues of the lower back structure that cause sciatica, but it is a form of pain management that has no side effects. For sciatica, the acupuncture needles are placed in specific positions along the legs, and forearm. The lower back is targeted, relieving muscle tension, increasing blood flow and relaxation around the lumbar vertebrae, then, the sciatic nerve is targeted to regulate blood flow along the nerve pathways and relax the muscles.
4. Epsom salts soak
Most people love a good soak in the tub. Getting in slowly to a hot tub, with, or without bubbles, is relaxing and stress-free. So it is no wonder that it is good for aches and pain in the body. For sciatic nerve pain relief, a hot bath with Epsom salts goes even further to help the body relax, and recoup by reducing inflammation and increasing circulation. Epsom salts are widely known for their relaxing effects on the body’s nerve system, so it is worth giving them a go. Add two cups of Epsom salts to a hot bath and soak for 15-20 minutes.
5. Stretching and gentle exercises
Stretching can do wonders for loosening up tight muscles and tendons. It helps improve sciatic problems by strengthening the core, improving lower back support and improving flexibility. Any exercises routine, no matter how gentle or intense needs to start and end with a group of core stretches to both warm up and warm down the worked muscles. Gentle exercises to prevent lower back pain and to strengthen the core are a very important movement to prevent sciatic pain and help your posture. Specific sciatic nerve exercises can be found after a quick search on the net.
If you are up for something a bit more intense than gentle stretching and want to work the entire body, not just the area of the sciatic nerve, then trying yoga is a wonderful way to get a workout. The intensity of yoga can vary, and a lot of it depends on you and how you build up strength. Certain yoga moves can release tension and relax muscles all over the body. Performing these positions and stretches regularly means you are not aggravating the sciatic nerve, but releasing it. With yoga, you are training your body in the right way to be sciatic pain-free.
7. Eating turmeric
Turmeric is one of the best spices to eat when dealing with inflammation. There has been research to prove that turmeric directly helps swelling, nerve pain and inflammation. Pop it into your cooking or boil one teaspoon up with one cup of milk as a drink, or make up a paste to apply to the skin. Another good spice paste is made from cayenne pepper because the active ingredient is capsaicin, which can target sciatic pain. Four tablespoons of cayenne pepper to one cup of oil will do the trick. Other herbs such as devil’s claw, mullein root, white willow bark and valerian root function well as anti-inflammatory substances.
8. Over the counter painkillers
For quick relief, there are a few options of over the counter medications you can buy that are specific to relieving pain and muscle tension. Aspirin and ibuprofen are the two most common choices and are readily available at your local pharmacy. These medications work to eliminate the inflammation around the nerves and therefore reduce sciatica pain. However, it is not recommended to take either of these medications in large doses for long periods of time due to other complications. But for temporary and intermittent pain relief they work quite well.
9. Prescription medications
If you need more than the odd paracetamol from the pharmacy to ease a higher level of sciatic pain and inflammation, you can ask your doctor about prescription medication. The medications likely to be prescribed by your doctor will be muscle relaxants, painkillers (but a higher dose than you can get over the counter) and perhaps even antidepressants. In some cases, antidepressants are used to encourage endorphin production because endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. Your health professional will be able to guide you in the right direction in medication, for your level of pain
10. Essential oils
For something soothing, you can use essential oils on the skin to soothe the pain related to sciatic nerve pressure. Essential oils are pure plant oil. Taken from the plant by a distillation process, the oils come highly concentrated. It is recommended to use them with a carrier oil or dilute them before applying directly to the skin. For inflammation, chamomile is one of the best to use, for pain relief, sage, and for cooling and soothing, peppermint.