Last week, we reviewed the basic description of sciatica, and learned that spinal stenosis, a spinal tumor, or a herniated disc could all be causes of this common source of back pain. Here are a few great tips for sciatica prevention and relief.
Sciatica Relief: Ice and Heat
There are steps you can take at home to ease the pain of sciatica. A heating pad or ice pack may be especially helpful. Apply the heat or ice for about 20 minutes every two hours. Experiment to see which provides more relief, or try alternating between heat and ice.
Sciatica Relief: Medication
Over-the-counter pain relievers can provide short-term relief from sciatica. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are options. Your doctor may give a steroid injection to further reduce the inflammation.
Sciatica Relief: Stretching
While your sciatica is healing, try to remain active. Motion can actually help reduce inflammation and pain. A physical therapist can show you how to gently stretch the hamstring and lower back. Depending on your medical condition, certain exercises may not be recommended. Your doctor may also recommend taking short walks.
Sciatica Relief: Injections
In severe cases, a doctor may recommend injecting steroids into the spine area to reduce inflammation. It delivers the medication directly to the area around the sciatic nerve.
If you’ve had sciatica once, there’s a chance it will return. But there are steps you can take to reduce the odds:
- ● Exercise regularly.
- ● Maintain good posture.
- ● Bend at the knees to lift heavy objects.
These steps can help you avoid back injuries that may lead to sciatica.