When sciatic nerve pain flares up, the nerve itself becomes inflamed due to an injury – for example, a slipped disc, pinched nerve, pressure due to pregnancy, or poor posture. Sciatica can be very debilitating, however, there are a few tricks that can help soothe sciatic nerve pain and decrease inflammation.
While it may seem counterintuitive, exercise is usually better for relieving sciatic pain than bed rest. Patients may rest for a day or two after their sciatic pain flares up, but after that time period, inactivity will usually make the pain worse. Without exercise and movement, the back muscles and spinal structures become de-conditioned and less able to support the back. This de-conditioning and weakening can lead to back injury and strain, which causes additional pain. Also, exercise is important for the health of the spinal discs. Movement helps exchange nutrients and fluids within the discs to keep them healthy and prevent pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Stretching or yoga can encourage tight muscles to loosen up. Promoting flexibility through stretching can ease sciatica by also improving lower back support and improving core strength. This way, less pressure is placed on the backs of the legs where the sciatic nerve resides.
Massage of the buttock muscles and backs of the legs (where the sciatic nerve runs) can loosen muscle tension and decrease painful nerve inflammation. Massage promotes blood circulation, which will ease sciatic nerve tenderness and built up tension.
Apply Hot and Cold – “hot and cold” works wonders on sciatic nerve pain. Start by applying an ice pack to decrease sciatic nerve inflammation, then follow up directly with a heating pad to soothe muscle tension and encourage blood flow to the tense muscles and nerves in the area at the backs of the legs and buttocks.
Get it straight – Posture plays an important role in the health of the spine. Avoid sitting in soft couches or chairs, as they will not give you the support you need to sit well. Use a back support cushion in every chair you sit in; whether at work, in the car or at home to help support your back properly.
Call Manjimup Physiotherapy on 9777 1048 for further information. All Covid-19 protocols are in place.