Sciatica is a common problem that affects many people. Around 40% of us will suffer from some sort of sciatic complaint at some point in our lives.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, starting in the lower back and traveling down through the buttocks and the back of the legs down into the feet. Symptoms of sciatica include and are not limited to pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the lower limbs. It often starts as pressure in the back and then evolves into pain in the back and limbs.
Sciatic pain is often mistaken for back pain, when the two conditions are actually different and need to be treated so.
Sciatic pain is often treated with painkillers, and as the pain can be very intense, often causes people to take very strong painkillers which are harmful to the liver and kidneys. Many don’t realise that there is a whole host of natural remedies out there which can reduce and prevent this painful condition.
Here are 8 natural treatments for sciatica that will have you ditching the pain killers.
Acupuncture is a treatment which involves inserting very fine needles into the body at different pressure points. The process stimulate the nerves and increases blood flow, which can ease the pain of sciatica. It is also useful for relieving migraines, stimulating the lymph flow, treating stress and helping to quit smoking.
2. Chiropractic Adjustments
Visiting the chiropractor can do wonders for sciatica, as the intense movement of the spine invigorates the nerves. Keeping the spine supple allows mobility, improve function, reduces inflammation, decreases pain, and can promote natural healing.
3. Ice Packs
Using an ice pack on the effected area is a fast and easy way to reduce sciatic pain that comes on all of a sudden. This cost-free solution will help if an attack is sudden or intensely painful. Take any item from the freezer, wrapped in a towel and placed on the area until the pain is gone.
4. Alternate Temperatures
Alternatively, you can use heat to reduce the pain of sciatica. There are different microwavable products on the market, or use the good old hot water bottle, or take a hot bath.
By using both heat and cold (for example taking a hot bath after using an ice pack) can boost the circulation and lymph flow. For added pain relief, add some salts or essential oils to your bath.
5. Mild (Yoga) Stretches
Exercise might seem like that last thing you want to do when suffering from sciatic pain, but studies have shown that gentle stretching has multiple benefits for sciatica. Yoga is great for gentle stretching which will slowly ease the pain.
Intensive massage has shown to prove beneficial for the treatment of muscle spasms, pain, and numbness of the legs and toes. Massage with incorporated essential oils can be even more beneficial, for more information the e-book Magical Aromatherapy is a handy guide to essential oils and their benefits.
7. Herbs And Oils
Nature is abundant with natural cures which have been manufactured into capsules, salves, liniments and infused oils. You can also make tea from fresh or dried herbs, or use elixirs, tinctures and essential oils to relieve pain.
Here is a list of natural ingredients which are great for reducing pain caused by inflammation:
- Devil’s claw
- Jamaican dogwood
- Turmeric or curcumin (combine it with black pepper to increase its bioavailability)
- White willow bark
- St. John’s wort
- Mullein root
- Roman chamomile
- Clary Sage
- Linden flower
- Milky oat tops
In the modern world it seems that many of us struggle to get the 8 hours we know we should. Sleep is essential to helping the body repair, especially in times when it is suffering. Make sure you get at least 8 hours and nap when you need to, to help the body repair in times of need.
If your sciatica pain last longer than a couple of weeks, consult your doctor.