Introduction: How to Help With Sciatic Nerve Pain

The sciatic nerve is a nerve that runs down your buttocks and down both legs. Pain in this nerve can be caused by injury, degeneration over time, herniated disc, etc. it can be a radiating pain or feel like a pinch in one spot. I grew up with an injured sciatic nerve and still deal with this pain today. below are some steps you can follow to help heal or ease your sciatic nerve pain.

Step 1: Step 1: Stretching

  • Stretching your legs and back can ease the tension in the muscles in the surrounding area of the nerve
  • Any stretch that externally rotates the hip will provide some relief
  • 6 stretches that would benefit you would be:
    • Reclining pigeon pose
    • sitting pigeon pose
    • forward pigeon pose
    • hamstring stretch
    • sitting spinal stretch
    • seated leg cradle
  • There are all kinds of stretches that can help the surrounding muscles around the sciatic nerve: buttocks, back, hamstrings
  • Doing some research and finding what stretches help you is the best thing you can do
    • Just don’t overstretch because then you can cause yourself further injury

Step 2: Step 2: Ice/Heat

  • If you recently hurt your sciatic nerve, it would be good to ice your back for the first few days, then after that heat it for as long as the pain persists
    • Icing will numb the nerves in the area and can reduce muscle spasm
    • Heating will increase blood flow to the area as well as relaxing the muscle tissues. This increase in blood flow will encourage healing, reduce tightness in your muscles, and increase the range of motion in your lower back

Step 3: Step 3: Massage

  • If your pain is caused by muscle strain, poor posture, or fatigued musculature, a deep tissue massage can relieve these issues effectively
  • Massages improve the spines flexibility, blood circulation, and release endorphins which is your body’s natural pain-relieving hormones
    • Blood circulation encourages your body to heal itself

Step 4: Step 4: Stay Moving

  • Of course, listen to your body before exercising, but staying active will keep your muscles from growing weaker
  • If your pain is caused by weaker muscles then planking and strengthening your core can slowly alleviate this pain
    • A good strengthening exercise for the sciatica is getting down on all fours and raising one leg and the opposite arm and holding it for about 10 seconds, then switch. This exercise uses all the muscles that are incorporated with your sciatica and strengthening these muscles can improve the pain overall.

  • Water therapy can also strengthen your muscles to help with your sciatic nerve pain such as just walking around in a pool for 30 minutes
  • There are also some yoga exercises that can help as well:
  • Again, researching and finding out what is best for you is key to alleviating your sciatic pain

Step 5: Step 5: Talking to Your Doctor About Medications

  • If your pain is persistent and overbearing, you can talk to your doctor about getting some pain-killers or muscle relaxers
  • Most doctors will tell you though to try taking Aleve or ibuprofen because they will bring down your inflammation as well as ease your pain, but if these don’t help you can ask about prescription medications
  • If your pain is persistent for more than 6 months, your doctor may suggest getting an epidural steroid injection
    • This is a shot of steroid medication into your back

Step 6: Step 6: Physical Therapy

  • If the above steps have not improved your symptoms, your doctor will also recommend you to a physical therapist
  • Your physical therapist’s goal will be to relieve lower back, buttock, thigh, and leg pain due to your sciatica while restoring pain-free functional movement patterns

Step 7: Step 7: Surgical Methods

  • If you’ve gone through all these steps and you’re still having chronic sciatic pain, you should ask your doctor about surgical methods
  • But before considering surgery you need to ask yourself what is causing the pain and how does it affect your quality of life
    • If your sciatic nerve pain is caused by a herniated disc, doctors can go in and take out a small part of the disc material; this is an invasive surgery and has relatively high success rates