If you are experiencing severe sciatic pain, especially weakness in the leg, please see a medical doctor before pursuing alternative treatments.
What can I do to ease the pain of sciatica?
Physicians may prescribe a range of medicines to ease the symptoms of the pain of sciatica, including anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, narcotics, and even some low-grade antidepressants. For patients with less severe pain, over-the-counter medications like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, or Tylenol may also help.
Doctors also used to prescribe ice, although today heat packs are more commonly recommended. If you choose to use ice, be sure to use it for no more than 15 minutes at a time, and only for a few days after the initial onset of pain.
To help reduce your sciatic pain, reduce your activity for a couple of days while you heal. However, you should not stay inactive too long. Plan to begin your normal activity again after a couple of days, although you should avoid heavy lifting and twisting for about six weeks.
After your acute pain decreases, your doctor may recommend that you do a few sessions of physical therapy. This will help you to correct your posture, strengthen your muscles, and improve your flexibility. You should be able to start exercising gently after about two to three weeks.
In rare cases, steroid injections or surgery may be required to ease symptoms of sciatica; however, most sciatic conditions can be resolved on their own, without this extent of treatment.
Preventing Sciatic Pain
Once you experience sciatic pain for the first time, it can reoccur easily. These tips can help you avoid future sciatic pain issues:
- Exercise regularly to maintain back strength.
- Use good posture while sitting.
- If you stand for long amounts of time, shift your weight often. Rest one foot on a box or stool if you can.
- Use your lower body to help you lift heavy things. Bend at the knees, and hold the item you are lifting close to your body.
- Don’t lift and twist at the same time.
Can massage help my sciatica?
The conditions behind sciatic pain vary widely, but massage therapy can help to ease the symptoms of back and leg pain in many cases, particularly those relating to the piriformis muscle.
Massage therapy eases the tension in the back, pelvis, and leg muscles. Since sciatica often results from compression of the sciatic nerve, gentle massage techniques can relieve the irritation and provide short-term relief, as well as long-term healing.
Are you worried about having someone manipulate your back? Book a free bodywork consultation with Lu. That way, you can experience what the therapists at Balance can do for you, without needing to commit to a full treatment session.