If you experience pain in the lower back, hip, and down to the feet, you may have sciatica. This condition can affect people of all ages, but it most common in middle aged and older adults.
Sciatica can be extremely painful and cause lots of discomfort that can put you down and out for a while. It can be so debilitating that it will affect all aspects of a person’s life, such as, work, home and social relations and lifestyle.
This type of ongoing chronic pain can also cause a lot of stress, and have a huge impact on emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Fortunately, there are some natural treatments that can help alleviate the pain you may feel when suffering with sciatica. To understand sciatica, it is important to explore the causes and symptoms you may experience with this condition.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is described as chronic pain that runs along the sciatic nerve and down the lower back. This pain can be mild at times and incredibly intense at others.
- Most people report feeling shooting or burning pains that run down the lower back, the hip, and sometimes the entire leg down to the feet.
- When you have sciatica, you may find it difficult and incredibly painful to walk, sit, and lie down.
- Sciatica can occur when the sciatic nerve is subjected to prolonged compression, inflammation, and other physical damage.
- Usually Sciatica only occurs on one side of the body, but it can develop on both sides for some people.
- Individuals with sciatica often experience numbness and weakness along with the muscle and joint pain that sciatica brings.
What Causes Sciatica?
There are a number of causes of sciatic pain. Many people notice the pain itself first before visiting their physician for an actual diagnosis. The following are some causes behind sciatic pain:
- Inflamed Tissues Around the Sciatic Nerve
- Narrowing of the Spinal Column
- Bulging or Herniated Disc
- A Tight Piriformis Muscle—Compresses the Sciatic Nerve. This is presented by spasms felt in the piriformis muscle located in the buttocks.
- Carrying Too Much Weight (puts pressure on the nerve)
- Carrying Too Little Weight (causes friction around the nerve)
Compression around the sciatic nerve can lead to permanent damage if not treated in a timely fashion, so it is important to visit your doctor at the first sign of unusual pain around your lower back.
Natural Treatments and Remedies
Lifestyle changes are often enough to sooth the pain of sciatica and even prevent it from returning. The most effective natural remedies include the following:
- A Healthy and Balanced Diet: When you have a healthy diet, your body is better able to heal. Including plenty of Vitamin C in your diet, such as from citrus fruits and juices, can boost your immune system and help fight off serious illness and disease. This also helps to reduce the inflammation that can occur in the tissues surrounding the sciatic nerve.
- Better Posture: Many people experience sciatic pain as a result of poor posture. Practice sitting up straight with your spine upright and your shoulders back to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. When paired with a healthy weight and an active lifestyle, proper posture can help alleviate sciatica pain.
- Muscle Relaxation Techniques: Practicing muscle relaxation techniques can help you to manage your pain as well as decrease the psychological impact of your chronic sciatic pain. The best way to relax the muscles is to try these positions:
- Lay on your stomach with one leg bent and pushed out to one side. Place a pillow beneath the knee to reduce strain on your back.
- Lay on your stomach with a pillow beneath your hips.
- Lay on your back with a pillow placed beneath your head while your feet rest on a chair. Your knees should be bent and your lower back should be flat against the ground.
- Temperature Therapy: Using heat and ice to massage your body can relieve sciatic pain. Ice is useful for reducing inflammation while heat has a soothing effect on tensed and tired muscles and can repair damaged tissues.
Living with pain can be an awful situation, but, there are remedies that are all natural that can help. Maintaining a positive attitude and trying all types of therapies until you find those that work for you is very important, and can really go a long way to finding some relief.