Tips to help relieve your sciatica

Tips to Help Relieve Your Sciatica

Sciatica is caused by the pinching of a spinal nerve root in the lower back. The sharp pain, numbness and/or weakness begins in the spine and shoots down the back of the leg. It can range from a minor nuisance to a debilitating issue. There are a number of ways to help relieve sciatica; however, the pain or numbness in your back and through your leg may be a symptom of an underlying condition, and you should see a medical professional for further diagnosis.

How to deal with sciatica

1. Apply heat or ice — Applying heat therapy or cold packs to the lower back can help relieve symptoms. Sciatica can be aggravated by muscle tension and spasms, which can be relieved with heat therapy. Use heat before an activity to help get the blood flowing. Ice or cold packs can be used to reduce swelling around the sciatic nerve and numb the pain following activity.

2. Do low-impact aerobic exercise — While exercising might not be your first thought when experiencing the shooting pain and numbness associated with sciatica, movement will bring more relief than retreating to bed. Low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking or water therapy, stimulates endorphins and helps to reduce the inflammation pressing on your sciatic nerve. Exercising in a warm pool can relieve the discomfort and give you the same benefits as walking.

3. Work on posture — When walking, standing or sitting, it is important to relieve the stress on your lower back and sciatic nerve with proper posture. Poor posture adds to the compression of nerves around your spine. It is a good practice to change your position throughout the day, whether you use a timer to remind you to take a quick walk around the office or use a standing desk for part of the day. Learning to incorporate more movement in your day will make you more aware of your posture, increase endorphins and help relieve sciatic pain.

Physical therapy for sciatica

Physical therapy is a safe, cost-effective, drug-free, and noninvasive treatment for managing sciatica. Treatments are individualized with the goal of relieving symptoms long-term and alleviating pressure on the sciatic nerve and may include manual therapy, spinal traction, aquatic therapy, dry needling, and therapeutic exercises and stretches.

To learn more about physical therapy to help deal with sciatica or to schedule an initial appointment, contact us today.