Treating back pain and sciatica: 8 better things to do now
Back pain that can be isolated or include other symptoms such as mild to intense discomfort caused by inflammation in the sciatic nerve, known as sciatica, can be nerve wracking as anyone dealing with the condition already knows.
Is there a natural, drug-free way to treat your back or sciatic pain? Here are 7 better ways to get healthier if you're dealing with pain. What you should know and 7 other things to do now to get relief.
Symptoms of sciatica
- Intermittent pain
- Low back pain that can extend to the buttock or down the leg to the ankle
- Inability to get comfortable in any position.
- The pain might worsen when you sit
- Pain on one side of buttocks - in the middle
- Hip pain
- Weakness on the affected side
- Burning sensation in the buttocks, hip or leg
Causes of back, hip, knee and leg pain
Your doctor might recommend and MRI to pinpoint the cause of the problem that can stem from pinched nerve in the spine from displaced discs in the spine, narrowing of the spinal canal, bone spur (an abnormal bony growth) or degenerative disc disease or a tumor. Sciatica can also be caused by muscle spasm.
Usual treatment for pain is anti-inflammatory medication or narcotics, muscle relaxants and medications that target nerve pain,
Most prescriptions have side effects that include drowsiness, constipation, stomach upset, lack of appetite and even depression. Taking medications might be necessary for a short period of time to help with needed rest, but they can also interfere with healing.
Before you embark on any treatment for back, hip or related pain it’s important to get the right diagnosis and speak to your doctor before starting or resuming any type of physical activity.
Recent information from the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons highlights the importance of understanding back pain can be the result of a hip problem.
Conversely hip pain could be coming from a problem occurring in your back.
The article, published February 2017 Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS) warns about the importance of finding the origin of of back pain that can radiate to the buttocks, hip or even the knee.
Know that what you might think is sciatic pain could be something else that could include fracture of the hip, poor blood supply to the hip, cartilage damage or other sources.
Keep detailed records of your symptoms to discuss with your doctor who should take detailed information and perform an in depth physical assessment including observing how you walk.
Stay active: Don’t go to bed. Instead of resting - and this might be hard - do your best to continue your normal activities, even if you have to do them more slowly. Studies have found bedrest might provide some temporary relief but you’re recovery time will end up longer. It doesn’t take much time to become deconditioned from too much rest. The result will be weaker muscles, more susceptibility to injury and the potential for loss of independence with daily activities.
Experiment using heat and ice: You may not know which treatment will work best for sciatica. Experimenting with alternating heat and ice is often recommended. Cold packs can calm inflammation, especially after you have been active or exercising. Heat acts to improve blood flow. Both treatments can help reduce muscle spasms that can happen from posturing or protecting your gait when trying to walk around with pain.
Yoga: Downward dog and pigeon pose are especially effective for releasing pressure on the sciatic nerve.