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Ways to Immediately Alleviate Sciatica Pain


Sciatica is the general term for irritation of the sciatic nerve and related symptoms, and it can produce discomfort that ranges from fairly mild to severe. Depending on the source of the compression, sciatica may significantly affect your daily life. If this is the case for you, it is safe to assume you prefer immediate relief. This article discusses how to relieve sciatica pain right away.

Heat and Ice

For many people with sciatica, the easiest way to get immediate relief is by applying heat or ice to the affected area. This can be done with a heating pad, ice, cooling or heating gel, or warm baths or showers. Heat allows for increased circulation and promotes tissue healing. Ice eases sciatica-related inflammation, which often worsens discomfort if it is not managed. Whether applying heat or ice, make sure to:

• Use a barrier such as a towel or ice pack to avoid direct contact with skin
• Limit applications to 10-15 minutes at a time every 2-3 hours
• Avoid sleeping with a heating pad applied to the area unless you can set a timer on it

Anti-Inflammatory Meds

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and similar medications, may give you immediate sciatica pain relief. This happens due to the way inflammation is reduced. Some people get upset stomachs when they rely too much on anti-inflammatory drugs, so be cautious if this applies to you. Also, if you are depending on NSAIDs for an extended time, talk to your doctor about other options for sciatica relief.

Note: Acetaminophen is not an NSAID, since it only relieves pain.

Gentle Stretching

As long as you keep the word "gentle" in mind, stretching muscles and other soft tissues in the affected area may noticeably ease your discomfort. The idea here is to increase range of motion and flexibility around the sciatic nerve. Doing so eases added stress that tight muscles may apply to this nerve.

Posture Improvements

The way you sit, stand, and sleep play an important role in maintaining your spine, its discs, and the sciatic nerve. Failure to maintain good posture could also be contributing to your level of discomfort. Make an effort to ease sciatic nerve pressure and irritation with posture improvements and steps such as:

• Taking breaks when sitting for long periods
• Using a chair that properly supports your lower back
• Not excessively leaning or slouching
• Sleeping in a position that keeps your spine naturally aligned
• Walking with your head held fully above your shoulders

Support Accessories

Certain repetitive or stressful movements you make during work or as part of your daily routine can sometimes trigger or worsen sciatica pain. If these motions involve bending or lifting, consider using appropriate support accessories. These can include a support cushion that minimizes nerve pressure when sitting, a lumbar support belt to absorb stress from bending and similar lower back movements, or a soft adjustable back brace.

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 is 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 did not 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 does not 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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