Do you find you frequently suffer from intense pain, tingling, or numbness in your lower back, hips, thighs, and legs? This may be a sign you suffer from sciatica, which is a condition caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. The most common cause of this pressure is a bulging or ruptured disc in the spine—when it becomes herniated, it places pressure on the nerve, resulting in this condition. However, there are other causes too, such as spinal stenosis, bone spurs, pinched nerves, and even arthritis. Pregnant women may also find they are suffering from sciatica.
If you suffer from this condition, you may be wondering what you can do to get your life back. Sciatica can be extremely painful, restricting your ability to enjoy life and sometimes even rendering you unable to move almost at all in extreme situations. Fortunately, you can do a few things to help alleviate the pain. Here are a few ways you can cope with sciatica by helping relieve the pressure your body is placing on this important cluster of nerves.
- Get rest: As with almost any condition, rest gives your injury time to heal. Giving your body a few days with little activity can help the pain go away.
- Take a non-steroidal pain killer: anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen are great for helping you cope with the pain without any of the negative side effects of more potent drugs.
- Apply ice or heat: Ice and heat are two of the oldest remedies in the book when it comes to relieving pain and improving recovery. If you’re experiencing sciatica in your legs immediately after exercise, you may want to ice your legs. If it’s in your back, apply heat (never ice your back muscles.)
- Engage in light physical activity: Believe it or not, a little bit of physical activity can help release the pain by alleviating the pressure on your nerves. Going for a short walk or exercises that help extend the spine may help with seeking relief. Whatever you do, avoid any movements that cause the spine to flex, such as knee-to-chest exercises.
- Avoid Sitting: Unless sitting is more comfortable than standing (which is possible, depending on your condition) one of the best things you can do to alleviate sciatica pain is to stand. Standing extends your spine and can take pressure off your sciatic nerves. If you need to get off your feet, try to lie down instead of sitting.
In serious cases, your doctor may advise you to consider physical therapy treatments. If you have sought medical attention for sciatica, your doctor will use a wide range of options to try to determine the cause of your pain, including a full physical exam, x-rays, or even an MRI test. If the cause can be located, you’ll be directed to work with a physical therapist, who can create low-impact exercises that can help you work towards freedom from your pain.
See a Professional
At ProMed Pain Rehabilitation Institute, our Bolingbrook non-surgical pain management professionals know and understand the kind of debilitating pain sciatica can cause. We firmly believe everyone deserves quality treatment that can help free them from the burden of their discomfort without the added cost and extreme risk of invasive surgery. Dr. George Papadopoulos and his team have developed unique and effective treatment and protocols, including helping you restore injured, herniated, or otherwise impacted spinal discs to help you manage your pain and start living your life comfortably again.To schedule an appointment or learn more about the pain relief options available to you, contact ProMed Pain Rehabilitation Institute at (630) 426-3270!