Natural remedies for sciatica
BACK pain is something that most people will have to deal with at one point or another during their lives, and it often comes in the form of sciatic pain.
Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve that runs from the hip down to the foot is irritated. When a structure presses on the sciatic nerve, it will cause pain. The most common causes are:
• A slipped or herniated disc. Here the soft cushion of tissue that lies between the bones of the spine are pushed out of place.
• A back injury
• Spondylolisthesis a condition where the bones of the spine slip out of alignment
• Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the sections of the spine where the nerves pass through.
Sciatic pain may affect your bottom, backs of your thighs and legs, feet and toes. These areas may feel weak, numb and tingly. The patient may feel burning, stabbing and shooting pains. These symptoms often become worse when you sneeze or cough.
Sciatica does not necessarily have to be accompanied by back pain but if it is present, it is usually is less intense than the pain in the limb.
Most cases of sciatica will resolve within four to six weeks. In this article I will look at natural help that should reduce the pain.
Spinal adjustment from a chiropractor will realign the spinal discs and prevent protruding into the spinal canal. This can be a very helpful form of pain relief and will speed up recovery.
Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine and works by attempting to open the body's natural energy flow, using tiny needles to target specific pain pathways.
Yoga will reduce stiffness and inflammation. Research shows that yoga is a safe and affective form of pain relief and will help to maintain good posture.
Heating pads placed on the lower back for approximately 15 minutes daily will help to loosen tight muscles and improve circulation. Conversely, applying cold packs to the back for 10 minutes, 4 times a day may also do the trick.
Sciatica is exacerbated by inflammation. Patients should include foods like turmeric and ginger in their diet to help reduce it. Patients with sciatica should not smoke or drink alcohol excessively.
One of the most important things to avoid is sitting or lying down for long periods of time as this will lead to more stiffness and will not strengthen the supporting muscles of the spine. Stretching or light isometric exercises will strengthen the muscles and help to reduce the pain.
So, how can you prevent sciatica from coming back?
• Stay active and take regular exercise.
• Take care when bending and lifting heavy objects.
• Maintain a healthy weight and diet.
• Maintain good posture when sitting or standing.
Angela Davis BSc (Hons) DPodM MChS is a podiatrist with offices in Montego Bay (293- 7119), Mandeville (962-2100), Ocho Rios (974-6339), Kingston (978-8392), and Savanna-la-Mar (955-3154). She is a member of the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom.