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Tips for Relieving Pain Related to the Sciatic Nerve


Sciatica is essentially lower back pain that extends down to the pelvic area and often further into at least one leg. It stems from the irritation of the lengthy sciatic nerve that starts at the base of the spine. While the resulting discomfort can be excruciating, it's something that often goes away with conservative treatments. Continue reading to find out how to relieve sciatica pain.

Use Ice & Heat

Alternating between cold and heat applications often eases some of the more noticeable sciatic nerve pain. Heat helps with circulation and healing, and cold eases the inflammation that usually aggravates sciatica symptoms. Alternate applications of heat and cold every 2–3 hours for about 15–20 minutes at a time.

Stretch & Exercise

It may not seem like it would be beneficial to stretch and exercise while experiencing sciatic nerve pain. However, improving spine flexibility and building the strength of the core muscles that provide some support to your backbone can actually relieve sciatica. With stretching, focus on gentle stretches that stimulate soft tissues around the affected area to ease stiffness and increase range of motion. As far as exercise goes, forms of exercise that effectively and gently strengthen core muscle groups around the trunk and lower body area tend to be more beneficial. Options include:

• Swimming and water aerobics
• Walking at a steady pace
• Cycling on a recumbent bike or using an elliptical machine
• Doing low-intensity muscle-strengthening workouts

Work on Your Posture

From sitting in the same position too long to not properly bending to pick things up or perform work-related tasks, there are many ways poor posture can affect your spine and the sciatic nerve. If you have some posture habits that aren't good for your spine, this could be part of the reason your sciatic nerve pain is more noticeable at times. Do regular self-checks of your posture and make an effort to shift positions and get up and move as much as possible.

Improve Your Eating Habits

Certain foods have the potential to contribute to the inflammation that affects the sciatic nerve and increases irritation. According to Harvard Health, refined carbs, fried foods, sugary snacks, and red meat are among the foods likely to contribute to tissue swelling. Incorporating green leafy veggies, nuts, fatty fish, and other foods that have the potential to counteract inflammation into your diet may provide relief.

Modify Your Activities

Some of the activities you do on a daily basis may also contribute to sciatic nerve pain. For example, if your workout routine is normally more demanding or intense, switching things up with walking and yoga can give your sciatic nerve time to heal. Also, avoid running on hard or uneven surfaces and participating in contact sports until your discomfort goes away.

Talk to Your Doctor 

If your sciatic nerve pain is worsening or not going away with the remedies mentioned here, talk to your doctor. This is a good way to find out for sure what's affecting your sciatic nerve and get treatment options and recommendations more specific to your needs. 

A patient who has had a lumbar discectomy for a herniated disc may experience sciatica if the disc becomes reherniated, which often occurs if there is a large hole in the outer ring of the disc after surgery. Fortunately, there’s a new treatment available. Barricaid is a device shown to reduce the risk of reherniation by closing the hole in the disc after a discectomy, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients didn’t undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and doesn’t require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

To learn more about the Barricaid treatment, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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