Here at Marshalls Creek Wellness Solutions, we often have patients coming in with sciatica pain. Sciatica can cause major discomfort, and finding the right solution to your specific problem is important in healing. Sciatica will usually only last about six weeks before resolving itself, but it is important to monitor your pain levels and seek professional treatment if they become unbearable. Keep reading to learn more about sciatica and how your East Stroudsburg chiropractors can help!
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica refers to sciatic nerve pain. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body and starts at your lower back. It splits into two and runs down either hip, buttock, leg, and down to the feet on both sides of your body. Sciatica most often occurs when a lower disc herniates and puts pressure on this important nerve, resulting in pain that radiates from the base of your back and down one or both of your legs. For some, this pain is mild and for others, it is incredibly severe and even debilitating. Sciatica can also cause tingling and numbness in the legs and feet, leading to even more problems.
How To Treat Sciatica
Ice And Heat
Ice and heat are one of the most common ways to treat any sort of pain. While muscle aches usually benefit from alternating ice and heat in one session, sciatica responds better to icing for 15-20 minutes per day for a short period, and then switching to heat for several days. This is because icing can help reduce inflammation, helping to numb sharp sciatica pain. After the sharp pain subsides, switching to heat therapy will offer more of a soothing effect while encouraging the flow of oxygen to the area, which can improve healing. Ice at the lower back or wherever the pain is most severe.
Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers
Occasionally sciatica pain can be reduced using pain relievers like ibuprofen. However, be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage and do not use this for an extended period of time, as they can lead to gastrointestinal issues. Be sure to discuss any pain medications with your physician or pharmacist to discuss potential side effects you might experience.
It can be tempting to lay back and take it easy when your sciatica acts up, but this will typically cause more discomfort because there is still pressure on that nerve. Taking short walks, swimming, or water aerobics will get your blood flowing around the imposing disc which can encourage healing and clean the area of inflammatory chemicals.
Doing stretches within your ability can relieve a great deal of pressure and pain. Be careful to not injure yourself while doing these stretches, and we recommend talking to your doctor before trying any of these stretches by yourself.
Some good stretches that focus on the flexibility of the spine and the muscles in the back can include the following:
- Knees To Chest: Lay on a firm surface with your head resting gently on the ground. Slowly bring your knees to your chest and hug them tightly with your arms. Hold this for 20 seconds before slowly lowering your legs back to the floor. After you do this a few times, try doing just one leg at a time while leaving the other leg extended, and then switching.
- Seated Twist: Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Bend your left leg and cross it over the right leg. Then, starting at the base of your back, twist your body to the left, resting your right arm on your left knee and looking over your shoulder. Hold for twenty seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Seated Hip Stretch: This stretch is perfect for stretching the hips and glutes and can often relieve sciatica pain for a period of time. Sit upright in a chair. With one foot planted squarely on the ground, rest the ankle of the other leg on the knee of the leg on the ground. Slowly bend forward. You should feel a good stretch in the hip and glutes of the leg you have raised, meaning if your sciatica pain is only on one side, you should focus on raising the leg that is experiencing the most pain.
Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica
Chiropractic adjustment has been used to successfully relieve sciatic nerve pain for many people by reducing pressure on the nerve through a series of gentle pulls and movements. Because sciatica is usually caused by compression of the nerve, spinal adjustments can help move the spine back to the proper position, reduce restricted movements and help to realign vertebrae. Chiropractic treatment for sciatica is non-invasive and drug-free, and should not cause discomfort.
To meet with a chiropractor about sciatica pain, be sure to get in touch with the professionals at Marshalls Creek Wellness Solutions today!