Sciatica is a symptom that triggers many problems in the hip, pelvis, and back, and the patient experience severe pain. The sciatic nerve pain may arise due to irritation from pinching tight muscles or a bulging disk in the lower back. The pain is so agonizing and weakening that you might not feel like moving at all. Some structural issues like spondylolisthesis or stenosis can also trigger sciatica nerve pain.
Causes of Sciatica Pain:
It is a myth that sciatica is a problem or a health issue. But the truth is it is a symptom of some potential problems. Treatment for sciatica majorly depends on the cause of the pain.
Some common causes may include an injury, narrowing of the spinal canal or a ruptured disk. Others include:
- A Herniated Disc
- Narrowing of Spinal Cord
- Injuries that Pressurize the Sciatic Nerves
- Degenerative Disk Disease
Risk Factors for Sciatica Pain:
Some risk factors that can be the reason behind sciatica nerve pain are:
- Age: Aging can cause changes in the spine.
- Obesity: Excess body weight also contributes to spinal changes.
- Occupation: If your job requires heavy loads lifting, driving for a long time or prolonged sitting, you may experience pain
- Diabetes: The increase in blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, thus provoking the sciatic pain.
Find out more - Tens Machine for Sciatica
Treatments for Sciatica:
Here are some remedies to treat sciatica pain:
- Ice Treatment: If you observe any symptoms of sciatica, start applying ice on the affected area for around 15 to 20 minutes in a day. Repeat this several times a day. Continue this for two to three days after you feel intense pain.
Icing or cold therapy is an ideal solution to relieve sciatica symptoms at an early stage. You can continue the therapy for five to seven days in a week, depending on the severity of pain. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and alleviates pain due give you relief for some time. It also numbs the sore tissues aiding relief.
If the pain continues for a longer time, and the cold therapy does not work for you, seek medical attention.
- Heat Therapy: Heat therapy can provide you instant relief from the pain. Heat widens your blood vessels, thus increasing the supply of oxygen and essential minerals to the affected area. This restricts the brain to focus on the pain. You can start the heat therapy just after you feel acute pain. Repeat this for three to seven days to avoid intense pain.
For the best results, you should use both cold and hot therapy to get relief. You can start with icing first to reduce any inflammation. Later, you can apply heat to the area to feel instant relief.
- Anti-Inflammatories Medications: It is obvious that most painkillers are effective in reducing pain immediately. To treat sciatica pain, you can take some anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by your doctor. You can also take some over the counter medications or buy online.
Some oral steroids or NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) can help relieve sciatica symptoms and pain. NSAIDs like naproxen, ibuprofen, and COX-2 inhibitors provide relief. Ibuprofen is an easily available medicine that provides instant relief. To control the pain, you can take epidural steroid injections. These injections benefit from inflammation and lower back pain. Before taking any injection or painkiller you should consult with your doctor.
You can also undergo surgery, but that depends on your treatment and severity of the condition.
- TENS Machine: TENS Machines transmit electrical signals through the skin. This restricts the pain signals from reaching the control unit of the human body.
The wireless TENS machines are versatile and work well for sciatica pain. They prevent pain and release the natural painkillers in the body called endorphins to accelerate healing. They work for a longer time without much side effects. The irritation caused by sciatica pain can be well treated with a TENS unit. As per results, most of the people experience relief in their pain during the first use of the TENS unit.
TENS is really effective in alleviating sciatica pain for a longer time. Consult your physical therapist if you have not used a TENS unit before. In case you have enough knowledge on how to use the TENS unit at home, you can start applying it over the area where you feel intense pain.
Avoid using the TENS machine during pregnancy. If your pain becomes extremely intense, make sure you consult your doctor.
- Physiotherapy: The Sciatica treatment plan involves physical therapy exercises. These exercises include a combination of stretching. They provide relief by reducing sciatica pain, thus building your spinal column strong and providing relaxation for a longer time.
Patients who engage in a regular program of stretching and exercising, recover more quickly from the pain. Also, the chances for future pain become comparatively less.
- Exercise & Stretching: To alleviate pain, stretching is an effective exercise you can incorporate in your daily routine. Some stretches benefit by providing relief from sciatica-related symptoms and pain. Prior to starting any of the exercises, visit your doctor or physiotherapist. Else, you might suffer from an injury.
Here are some of the recommended stretches to perform to avoid pain:
- Knees to chest
- Seated Hip stretch
- Knees to shoulder
- Standing Hamstring stretch
Add them to your regular exercise routine for sciatica nerve pain relief. Stop immediately if any of these cause more pain.
You can treat sciatica pain at home using hot and cold therapy. It provides a sense of relief. For longer-term relief, use a TENS unit and consult your doctor immediately.