Sciatica refers to the pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, from the lower back through the hip and down each leg. When the sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated, it causes sharp pain as well as numbness, tingling, burning sensation and weakness of the affected area. The pain can be mild, but if it`s severe it can prevent you from performing your everyday activities, like walking or even standing up. Some of the factors that cause sciatica are spinal stenosis, spinal injury, spinal infection, degenerative disk disease, pregnancy, isthmic spondylolisthesis etc. Conventional treatments and steroid injections are often ineffective, because therapy gives only temporal results, while steroids can cause side effects. Try using some of these natural therapies and remedies, instead:
- Hot/Cold compress
The hot compress will relax the tensed muscles, and the cold one will numb the pain and help with the swelling. Begin with hot and end with cold compress, using a moist towel (steamed or cooled), which should be applied on the affected area for 20 minutes. Repeat every couple of hours.
Exercise regularly in order to make the back stronger. Recommended exercise is Knee to Chest stretch, because it improves flexibility of the lower back, reducing nerve irritation. Lie on the floor, extend the legs straight and pull the knees to the chest. Gently tug the knees towards the nose. Hold this position for 20 second. Repeat with each leg separately, 3-5 times. Also try the cat-cow and pigeon yoga poses, or exercises for spinal decompression.
Acupuncture can help you relax your muscle and relieve sciatica pain, especially if performed with heated needles, according to a study which included 30 sciatica patients and 17 of them had positive effects.
- Fenugreek movements
The poultice from fenugreek seeds has anti-inflammatory properties and it can relieve gout pain, sciatica pain or ease rheumatoid arthritis. Put some grind fenugreek seeds in a glass of milk, boil it until you get a paste, then apply the paste on affected areas. Leave it for couple of hours then rinse off.
Boil a glass of milk with 1 tsp. of turmeric, honey and cinnamon stick. Drink twice a day, until pain is relieved. Also, take turmeric supplements three times a day for a week, except if you suffer from diabetes or gallstone.
- Valerian root
Valerian root can relieve sciatic pain if caused by muscle spasm. The oil from the valerian root will reduce tension and relax muscles. Use it to make tea or take it in supplements (150 mg, three times a day, during one week).
- White willow bark
The olic glycosides component of this tree has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Take white willow supplements, 120 mg daily, during one week.
- Spinal manipulation
Spinal manipulation can sooth nerve irritation, responsible for sciatica symptoms. According to a study, pain was relieved in 6 percent of the participant after spinal manipulation. It should be done only by an experienced chiropractor.
- Capsaicin cream
This cream contains cayenne pepper, known as natural pain reliever. Over the course of one week, apply capsaicin cream on the affected area, four times a day. If your skin is broken, avoid the cream because of the burning sensation it may cause.
Massage will recover the body and relieve the pain, if caused by muscle spasm. It will improve circulation, release tension and widen motion range. Use St. John`s oil for the massage because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Repeat the massage 2-3 times a day until you feel the results. Also, you can use mixture of nutmeg powder and sesame oil- first heat it, let it cool down a bit, and then use it for massage; repeat the treatment few times a day, during a week, or until you see some improvements.
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