Sciatica Pain Relief
Common options for relief from sciatica pain include alternating ice and heat, minimal bed rest, and over-the-counter medications. If, after trying these self-care methods, the sciatica pain continues, your healthcare provider may recommend other treatment methods. For severe cases that don't respond to other types of treatment, relief may be obtained through physical therapy or surgery.
Sciatica is a condition in which a herniated or ruptured disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which is the large nerve that extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. In most cases, sciatica pain can be treated without surgery. Pain relief typically involves:
- Using analgesics
- Reducing inflammation
- Restoring proper function and strength to the back
- Preventing recurrence of the injury.
Specific sciatica pain relief suggestions may include:
- Ice and heat
- Minimal bed rest
- Physical therapy
Although ice and heat (the use of cold and hot compresses) have never been scientifically proven to quickly resolve sciatica, compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow greater mobility for some individuals. As soon as possible following trauma, you should apply a cold pack or a cold compress (such as a bag of ice or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) to the tender spot several times a day for up to 20 minutes. After two to three days of cold treatment, you should then apply heat (such as a heating lamp or hot pad) for brief periods to relax muscles and increase blood flow. Warm baths may also help relax muscles. Avoid sleeping on a heating pad, which can cause burns and lead to additional tissue damage.