Did you know that the longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve? It runs from pelvis all the way down both legs, breaking off into smaller nerve branches along the way. Damage to this nerve occurs from consistent pressure on the sciatic nerve, typically caused from some underlying problem.
These underlying problems can be from injury or preexisting conditions; bulging or herniated discs, Piriformis Syndrome, or even sitting on a bulky wallet for an extended period of time can all cause damage to the sciatic nerve.
When this nerve is damaged, it results in pain that radiates from the hip and down either one or both legs. This can severely impact one’s daily life, so many seek treatment to manage the symptoms. Treatments often rely on heavy medications to cope with the pain, but here are a few helpful tips you can implement that can help relieve the symptoms of sciatica:
- Change the way you sit – Sitting in the same positions for an extended period of time can put pressure on the sciatica nerve. If you are experiencing a particularly tough flare-up of sciatica, try alternating the positions in which you are sitting every 15 minutes. If possible, avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time in general. Avoid sitting on hard surfaces that offer little support and get up to stretch or walk around periodically.
- Stretch your muscles – You can further manage sciatica pains by regularly stretching your muscles. This can be done through low-impact exercise, such as yoga, or by simply taking time out of the day to properly stretch your back, hips, and legs. Stretching and maintaining good posture can help relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve and diminish pain.
- Ice and heat packs – You can apply cold packs or warm packs to the areas where the pain is most concentrated for about 15 minutes at a time, as needed. These compresses will only help temporarily alleviate the pain, as they act on a surface level to alter blood circulation. It is not long-lasting in warding off internal inflammation.
- Exercise – Promoting overall health via exercise is a great way to not only diminish sciatic pains, but it lowers blood-sugar levels, improves muscle tone, and much more. Living an active lifestyle doesn’t entail daily exhaustion. You can try low impact exercises or cardio to start living a more active life.
- Massage – In addition to stimulating muscles via stretching and exercise, you can also recover your muscles through massage. This can loosen muscle tension, decreasing inflammation. Should the sciatic pain get too overbearing, you can also look into physical therapy options as well.
With these practices, you can start managing your sciatic pain today. However, should your sciatic pain persist, then you may want to look into other all-natural, non-invasive treatments provided by a doctor.
At Tarpon Total Health Care, we offer various treatments that can not only alleviate sciatic pains, but also promote tissue healing. If you live in or nearby North Pinellas County and are interested in finding out more about the treatments we offer, contact us at (727) 934-0844 for a complimentary consultation.