The rule of thumb here is that if you have not overcome your pain in more than 6 weeks than it is highly recommended you take yourself to see a doctor or specialist for the treatment for sciatic nerve pain. Get an X-Ray or MRI scan and you will know more about your condition.
Until then don’t wait for the pain to go away because quite often this is only going to make it worse. There are different techniques you can use here. One of these is known as the RICER method. The acronym, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation is one which has been tried and tested. Use this method for the first 4-5 days.The whole process will reduce inflammation. There Is always a constant debate whether heat is perhaps better than ice. Heat can feel good at the time, but in the long run ice will pay off.
If you find that you are still feeling the heat after some time then it may be one of the other causes mentioned above, relating to the actual discs and bones. You may need to have the realignment of the bones corrected. For the case of muscle imbalance then you may want to have a look into that area, but you will have to consult your doctor.
Taking a deeper look at the RICER method
- Rest – Stressful activities should be avoided. This does not mean lying in your bed like a hospital patient, but it does mean staying away from strenuous activities. Avoid lifting heavy objects. Don’t bend down to pick something up with your arms stretched out in front of you. You will find that you will go into a relapse.
- Ice – Everyone knows that ice simply goes with an injury. Any athlete knows that when they tear a muscle the first thing they should apply is ice. Make sure you don’t apply the ice directly on the skin because can cause damage. Always protect the skin with a cloth.
- Compression – Securing the area with a bandage will prevent any swelling.
- Elevation – In the case of a strained shoulder it would mean raising it above your head, but in this case it would simply mean that you keep moving. Take a gentle stroll for 2-3 minutes.
- Referral – After 2-3 days of completing this method and you find you are still not got your strength back it’s probably your best bet to seek medical advice.
Sciatic Nerve pain relief
Sciatic nerve pain comes in different forms of severity and this all depends on the cause. For example if you are suffering from an overworked muscle then you may not be in quite so much pain as someone who has a bulging disc so you will have to find the kind of relief that will suit you best.
As mentioned before, bed rest is not going to help all that much. You have to find the balance. You will know when you are doing too much and you won’t want to get to that stage, but you don’t want to lie in bed for three days either.
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Tips to relieve sciatic nerve pain
- Learn to sit in the correct way. Have a chair with a proper support and back rest. Learn not to slouch over. In this way you will create the correct posture. Don’t slouch over your computer.
- For someone who has to be at the computer as part of their job, get into the habit of taking regular breaks. The human body was not designed to stay in one place for a long period of time. You only need to get out of your seat every hour and take a two minute walk. This will do you a lot of good.
- Remember to stretch on a daily basis. In the beginning stages don’t start out with anything vigorous because this is where a lot of people go wrong. Heavy hamstring pulls and touching your toes can lead to more damage. There are designated exercises that you should stick to. Sciatic nerve pain relief exercises will do you a lot of good if you continue with them on a daily basis and get into a good routine.
- Ice application can reduce the amount of swelling and you will instantly feel refreshed. Leave the ice pack on for about 10 minutes with a cloth between the skin and pack.Heat packs are also available and some people swear by these. You would use a pack like this for acute sciatic nerve pain that is of a sharp nature. The way heat assists is that when it's applied the flow of oxygen is increased with the essential nutrients,dilating blood vessels.
- If you have someone help you to give you a good massage that will help things along, especially if the problem if muscle related. It is important that muscles are manipulated and of course this is a whole new subject. A professional will know in what direction to move around. If you are on your own you can try to sit on a tennis ball and then slide off in the direction of the pressure point.
Sciatic nerve pain treatment using temporary drugs
There are many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) on the market that will assist with your sciatic nerve pain. Things like ointments and aspirins can help alleviate the pain. These medications are sold over the counter or as prescriptions medications.
NSAID’s are more popular because they don’t lead to major side effects that many aspirins do. Something like Ibuprfen which is the ingredient you will find in Advil and Voltaren have been proven effective. You can also look out for products containing naproxen or Co 2- inhibitiors. Those looking for something stronger will have to turn to a prescription drug like cortisone.
Exercises for sciatic nerve pain relief
There are various exercises you can do depending on the severity on the condition. You will really have to experiment and find what works best for you. For those who want a speedy recovery and have been diagnosed with the piriformis syndrome, then exercises can be more vigorous, but not to the extent where you are doing more harm than good. For this side of things light stretches of the hamstring are appropriate, but don’t overexert yourself.
Applying ice periodically is important. If you have something that needs more attention then find one of the exercises below that suits you best. Remember to incorporate this into your day or at least avoid the things you were doing, which brought it on. Learn to adapt. This means more breaks from your workstation and learning not to slouch. It’s easy to slip back into the old way of life, but to make an extra effort will mean not dropping back.
Sciatic nerve pain exercises using the McKenzie Method
These exercises have been designed especially for the purpose of sciatica by a professional physiotherapist, Robin McKenzie. You shouldn’t feel more pain further away from the spine. The point of the exercises is to centralize the pain as much as possible.
This means keeping the pain closer to the spine. For example if you have pain in the leg you would want to move that up to the lower back. Find a position that best suits you. When trying to find a position you should hold it from 1-2 minutes and take a 30 second break in between.
The McKenzie Method Sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy
The sciatic nerve can come under a lot of pressure when carrying a baby. This is one of the major complications of a pregnancy as you may imagine. Dealing with sciatica on its own is enough, but coupled with the extra complications of the pregnancy is more than one should be able to take.
Often people who are prone to this at this time of their lives is due to the fact of a couple of causes associated with sciatica, such as lifting, sitting or standing in one spot. To alleviate the pain have a warm bath or use a hot water bottle when you sleep. A heat pack is another option that will add to the relief.
The way you sleep should be focused on and can, in fact bring on the condition. Lie on the opposite side of the pain. For example if you right side is aching then turn to your left side. A belly sling is a good investment during this time because it will take pressure off the nerve. If you are able to include a couple of the exercises mentioned above you will definitely be helping things a long. Some women have reported that prenatal yoga has been beneficial.
A good therapist will be helpful in getting to the root of the problem and loosening out the muscles. On the whole, the pain will only last as long as the pregnancy does or until most of the weight is lost. A couple of women battle with it afterwards, but this is not a huge number.
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