Sciatica is one of the more painful conditions that many suffer with. The pain caused by sciatica usually starts within the lower region of your back, spreads through the hips and your butt and then travels down each of your legs.
The most common cases of sciatica usually stem from a herniated disc, a bone spur located somewhere along the spinal cord, but can be caused by the more serious condition of spinal stenosis – when the spine is narrowed and the different nerves become compressed.
The effects are usually felt on either your right or left side – but there are some cases where you might feel the pain, swelling and numbness in both legs. Despite the higher levels of pain, you can at least rest assured that there is not likely to be any type of permanent tissue damage to the sciatic nerve as a result of sciatica.
These conditions can be quite serious, although scientific trials have found that there are very simple ways to treat the symptoms of sciatica without having to go through any invasive surgeries. Some of the best options available to treat the intense pain are 100 percent natural that can bring a number of additional benefits that you might be dealing with.
What are the common forms of sciatica?
Piriformis syndrome – This can be one of the most difficult types of sciatica for a doctor to be able to diagnosis where the nerves in questions that run behind the piriformis muscle that is attached to one’s hipbone – one that can be very easily irritated and tensed to be an easy target for nerve pains.
Usually doctors are not able to find this condition via X-ray. The good news is that it is an easy form to heal.
Herniated, bulging disc
Common that has several subtypes that can happen for a variety of reasons – i.e. being involved in a vehicular accident. When the nucleus of a disc breaks through the annulus layer, it is herniated – but not breaking through that barrier means it is bulging. Either way, the nerves are compressed and leads to swelling, inflammation, tingling and numbing sensations.
Lumber spinal stenosis
When someone grows in age, they are more likely to succumb to this type of sciatica where the spinal cord will compress and narrow, which will cause obvious pains and pinched nerves throughout the back, hip and legs – this can be commonly mistaken for a form of arthritis that also develops as one gets older.
This type usually happens when one suffers a much more severe injury where one of the many vertebrae along the spine might slip over another neighboring vertebrae and cause painful compressions of the surrounding sciatic nerves. The pain really does feel like being stabbed with a knife. It is a common type where the most concern is shown by doctors.
Why try natural remedies?
Buying a medicine with artificial chemicals will either cost a lot of money out of your pocket or require using your insurance plan – which still comes with a deductible that you would be responsible for.
Other reasons for using natural remedies are you don’t need a prescription from your doctor, and these natural methods usually come with essential vitamins and minerals your body needs Add up all these reasons and you will find that there really isn’t a good excuse to not at least try the natural choice of dealing with sciatica.
What are the common symptoms or effects that you can heal naturally?
The first is that you will feel a pain that starts from the lower part of your back where the nerves in the spine are affected, which will branch out similar effects that can move down towards the hips, butt and legs – although you normally should only have one leg affected and both legs are a little bit of a rare, but not impossible case.
That pain that you feel can vary between a sharper pain that can feel like a burn or an excruciating stabbing sensation. Then there are cases where that feeling might be more similar to an electrical shock or just a simple jolt.
Regardless of the type of pain you feel, it can be aggravated to a worsened state if someone with sciatica sneezes or sits for an extended period of time.
There are some people who report also feeling that numbing or tingling sensation in a foot, or even feeling that their muscles are a lot weaker than before. It can also be in some parts of the leg while the rest is fine.
While mild sciatica will usually fade away after a period of time, having some of the following might be a sign to reach your primary health care provider:
- Sudden and severe discomfort and pain in the lower back, leg and any part of the leg that eventually leads to numbness.
- If your pain comes shortly after having suffered an injury from things like a car accident or something worse.
- When the effects can lead to a difficulty of being able to control your bowel and bladder movements.
The benefits of herbal treatments, what to consume
Among the number of reasons and medicinal benefits that come from herbal teas and spices that can be added to your favorite meals, sciatica can be better prevented and healed up by adding some of the following to your daily consumption along with essential vitamins, minerals and other dietary essentials.
Usually all of these are a lot safer than some of the prescription drugs that doctors provide or some of the over-the-counter medicines that can be bought at a local pharmacy that may contain artificial and synthetic substances that can cause other types of long-term health issues.
Among the several different ways turmeric helps prevent and heal inflammation of the joints and other parts of the body, this spice is also able to help prevent any type of swelling that can compress the sciatic nerves along the spine by actually help reduce the amount of enzymes that can cause the inflammation in the first place.
This herb can be used in a variety of teas, cooking as a spice and can also be made into a paste for topical application to the area you are feeling the pain.
This can be an extremely potent and beneficial herb that comes from the bark of a dogwood tree – most notably able to help reduce the effects of spinal pain. Jamaican dogwood is usually taken through an oral pill, but it can also be applied as a tincture.
There are some limitations of use if the person in question is either pregnant with child or is planning to breastfeed their baby.
Coming from a yellow-flowered plant, there is a long history of use of turning this herb into an oil – dating back to the days of ancient Greece – for a number of reasons, including various types of nerve inflammation and pains. This herb has a number of different antioxidant, astringent and antibacterial components that can all team up to help battle any issues linked to sciatica.
Similar to turmeric, garlic has a number of swelling reduction and prevention capabilities that can make this one of the better natural methods of treating sciatica and the related nerve pain.
It is also a very delicious addition that you can place in some of your favorite meals – burgers, French fries, pizza and many more. You can also take garlic as an additional supplement, but the best way is to eat fresh garlic and up to four cloves’ worth every morning for the optimal results to fight sciatica.
Stretching away the pain from sciatica
With how painful sciatica can be, you may not want to leave your couch or bed. But it is extremely important to get up and moving because living a non-active life is not going to help heal the effects that you want to obviously get rid of – it’s a big reason why many medical experts might call sciatica the “sitting disease”.
Now that doesn’t mean you should necessarily try to run a mile for a personal best because the pain likely won’t allow you to do so unless to help alleviate the side effects beforehand. One of the best ways to do so is to stretch your hips, legs and lower back.
One of the most beneficial stretches is the “figure-four” stretch where you start by lying on your back and brining one leg up to a 90-degree angle and grapping it with your hands around the thigh.
You would then take the opposite leg and place the ankle against the corresponding knee to help alleviate pain in the piriformis. You can then switch to do this for the opposite leg as well.
Then there’s the pigeon stretch that is commonly an exercise used in various yoga routines that help open up the hips so that you can stretch out some of the pained nerves that are where some of the sciatica is coming from.
The first step is to get on all fours on the floor, then stretch one of your legs behind yourself with the toes pointing out. Then you would want to move your body weight to transition from your arms to your legs by leaning back – exhaling deeply at the same time while doing so.
The important thing to note is you cannot allow your back to arch during this stretch, otherwise you would likely unnecessarily strain your back.
There are a lot of other stretches you can do by going through a number of online searches, but there are also some cautions that need to be kept in mind. For example, consider where you are getting your information from. A YouTube video is not always going to be done by a fitness expert – even though there are some who have years of experience in proper stretching exercises.
You also need to know that some stretches might not work for you specifically, so be willing to try a couple of different options to see what helps you the most. Stop once you feel any kind of pain, because stretching your muscles should not be painful.
Exercising can be beneficial, if done right
While it is important to rest in an effort to allow those affected nerves to recover, being active is just as important. Stretching is still important and should be done before any type of physical activity regardless whether you have sciatica or not. It’s best to start doing a regular exercise program after a couple of days removed from a sciatic flare-up.
The key is to do exercises that are low-impact and will help build your strength within the back and midsection muscles as part of improving your body’s core group of muscles.
Many exercises that are the best include spinal rolls, knee rocking, floor twists, extension of the legs and back and a variety of yoga poses. All of these help with decompressing the spine.
Another good option is water aerobics because you are moving your body around in beneficial ways overall while not causing any major impact to your back, hips and legs. All of these and other exercise options should receive an approval from your doctor before starting any kind of routine.
Apply some hot, cold treatments
There are a number of experts and articles that support the belief of applying a cold pack to the affected area to help numb the pain.
This is a very cost effective treatment option because if you don’t have a specialized ice pack, you could always settle for a frozen bag of peas or other vegetables. You could also have someone help massage the area and using an ice cube from the freezer in a triangle pattern.
After using a cold treatment, you can alternate and use a heating pad to help warm up the tissues to make them less stiff and compressed. The heat will usually loosen up the muscles and allow you to feel a lot better overall.
You don’t have to use just an electric heating pad, but you could also place a hand towel under hot water before wringing it out and placing it on your lower back for a period of time.
Several pain experts agree that having the heat will actually get deeper into the tissues and can help heal the affected nerves and provide a much better level of pain reduction.
Manipulate the spine through massage, chiropractor care, and acupuncture
Seeing a chiropractor has become one of the most popular options when it comes to finding a natural remedy that works for the neck and the back – including where sciatica runs most rampant.
A skilled chiropractor will be able to use a combination of fast moves, thrusts and adjustments of your spine to help reduce the levels of irritation and aggravation that your sciatic nerves might be experiencing.
There have been a number of clinical trials that state that a majority of people who are diagnosed with some form of sciatica can receive just as many benefits when reducing their pains as they would have from a surgical procedure – which obviously includes several more risks than you would want.
Obviously you want to consult a health care provider, but you could always go with a simple massage – which doesn’t require any doctor approval in most cases.
In fact, a good massage is a good way for able to stretch out and deeply loosen those tensed up nerves in your back.
Many massage therapists use a number of natural oils that contain some of the herbs mentioned earlier in this article – which makes going for a massage that much more beneficial.
Another option for spinal manipulation is to see an acupuncturist. The art of acupuncture is a natural way to alleviate sciatica by stimulating the number points within the nervous system that release healing chemicals upon inserting sharp needles into.
This is a very common and traditional healing method with roots dating back to ancient Chinese medicine – where they heat up the needles for further capabilities to release those chemicals and open up the sciatic nerves.
The key thing to keep in mind is that some of these natural methods may not work for you like they do for others. The good thing is that the majority of them do not come with a lot of negative side effects, which means you are welcome to try out the various natural remedy options available without concerns of further aggravating your sciatica or developing any additional health conditions that can come from artificial medicines.
Many of these options are also a lot cheaper than most of the medicines you receive via prescription from a doctor or by going to the local pharmacy. Ice and heat treatments only require a quick trip to the kitchen, as well as many of the herbal remedies listed as well. There’s no harm in trying to see what works for your individual situation.