When the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, you could feel a burning, shooting sensation radiating from your hip to your toes. This pain can be debilitating, but the good news is that it’s treatable. Depending on the seriousness of your condition, five effective ways to relieve sciatic pain include:
- Home remedies and lifestyle changes
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Pain management
- Surgery (in the most severe cases)
A physician from Specific Care Chiropractic can determine suitable treatment options following a physical examination and learn more about your sciatica. Call our practice today at (239) 369-9109 to book your first appointment.
How to Treat Your Sciatic Pain
You may find relief from your sciatic pain from the following treatment options:
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes
According to Mayo Clinic, sometimes, doing some simple self-care is all your sciatic pain needs to die down. This involves:
- Stretching: Practice some low back stretches and hold for about 30 seconds. Make sure you stay still, as twisting or bouncing can aggravate the pain.
- Cold packs: Wrap a cold or ice pack in a paper towel and press it to the painful area for about 20 minutes.
- Heating pads: If the pain persists for a couple of days, incorporate applying heat to the affected area into your routine. You may even want to alternate between ice and heat to lessen the pain.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: OTC pain relievers can reduce inflammation in the affected area. Use as directed.
- Losing weight: The more you weigh, the more pressure rests on your spine and nerves, which can cause or contribute to sciatic pain.
People may feel tempted to keep their “bad” leg stable when dealing with sciatic pain. However, resting can actually intensify the pain, so try to get up and walk around every so often to reduce the discomfort.
Sometimes, relieving sciatic pain calls for more than just home remedies. Chiropractic care tackles the source of the issue. Here, the chiropractor uses their hands or a tool to exert force that aims to realign the spine. This treatment aims to relieve pain and increase mobility. The chiropractic adjustments the chiropractor can administer include:
- Thompson Drop-Table Technique: This table is separated into seven segments, allowing the physician to concentrate on manipulating the affected area.
- Diversified adjustments: This is what most people think of when they hear the word “chiropractor.” Here, the doctor uses thrusting motions to manipulate the spine.
- Seated diversified adjustments: This method is just like the previous one, but you’re seated.
- Toggle recoil: The most gentle of the chiropractic adjustments, a tool exerts quick, small thrusts to the patient’s problem areas.
- The activator method: Using a small instrument, the physician exerts high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) forces for a more specific and controlled adjustment.
- The Sacral-Occipital technique (SOT): This approach targets specific areas of the body, including the lower back.
These are proven methods for patients who suffer from sciatica. According to Spinal Journal, spinal manipulation benefited those who sustained sciatica and acute back pain, more so than other techniques.
Sciatica can take a toll on your overall strength and range of motion. However, certain physical therapy techniques can build your stamina and prevent re-injury. These techniques include:
- Massage therapy: A therapist can exert pressure on your tense muscles to relieve nerve and joint compression, alleviate pain, heal scar tissue, and increase flexibility.
- Electrical muscle stimulation (E-STIM): Your doctor will place electrodes that send low-magnetic pulses around the affected area.
- Ultrasound therapy: Here, sound waves can heal damaged muscle tissue.
- Stretching and strengthening techniques: Your therapist can demonstrate different stretching exercises to build your flexibility and muscle mass. They may recommend you practice them at home.
Your physician may construct a plan that incorporates chiropractic care and physical therapy techniques for the best results.
In some cases, a physician may prescribe medications, such as anti-inflammatories, opioids, or corticosteroids, to alleviate your pain. However, they may serve as more of a bandage rather than getting to the root of the issue. Some pose the risk of substance abuse. With that, your physician may suggest that you instead undergo steroid injections that target the affected area.
One typically does enough to decrease the pain for a few weeks, but three can last for up to a year
The most severe cases of sciatica, such as those involving a loss of bowel or bladder control, may call for surgery. Here, a physician will remove part of the herniated disc or a bone spur that’s compressing the sciatic nerve.
How We Determine the Best Way to Relieve Your Sciatic Pain
During your first appointment, your physician may ask you a series of questions to gain insight into your condition, such as:
- When did you begin experiencing sciatic pain?
- Did a specific event cause it, or did it show up over time?
- How often does it flare up? What are the triggers?
- What does the pain feel like?
- Where are you experiencing pain?
- Do you have a bulged or herniated disc in your lumbar spine?
Your physician may also conduct a physical examination to test the severity of your condition. In some cases, they may order diagnostic tests to get a more in-depth view of what’s going on. They could have you undergo MRIs, x-rays, CT scans, or electromyography (EMG).
Your answers to the questionnaires, your physician’s findings from your physical examination, and the results of diagnostic tests will shape your sciatica treatment plan.
Get Relief from Your Sciatic Pain With Specific Care Chiropractic
Sciatic pain can take a toll on your quality of life. You don’t have to power through and take a bunch of painkillers in hopes that it will go away on its own. Instead, find solutions and learn about the five effective ways to treat it.
After learning about your condition, we can craft a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and puts you on the road to recovery. Reach out to Specific Care Chiropractic to schedule your first visit. Dial (239) 633-8270 today.