Sciatica is a condition that is characterized by some level of pain that can run anywhere from the lower back all the way down to your calf. It is caused by some sort of pressure that is being placed on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc or other spinal issue. While the most common treatment for sciatica will be physical therapy, there are a few things you can do to “self-treat” your condition.
1. Apply a cold pack to the lower back, even if you’re feeling the pain within the buttocks or leg. Cold should help to alleviate any inflammation you may be experiencing. You should only apply the cold pack for about 15 minutes at a time anywhere from three to four times a day.
2. Alternate with a hot pack. Sometimes, alternating between hot and cold can also help alleviate the pain. The heat will actually increase blood flow to the area, helping to heal the issue. Again, this should only be done in intervals throughout the day (three to four to match the cold). Keep in mind that 10 minutes is really the longest that you should apply the heat. Longer could exacerbate the problem.
3. Take an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen, to reduce the inflammation you are experiencing along the sciatic nerve.
4. Stretch your lower back. If you take sometime to gently stretch your lower back, it can alleviate some of that compression the sciatic nerve may be experiencing. This would then aid in lessening the pain accompanying sciatica.
5. Strengthen your lower back through “targeted” exercises. Most gyms have a few machines that can properly guide you with these sorts of exercises.
6. Start walking. Many people are unaware that walking is quite good for the lower back and can help the recovery process of sciatica.
7. Relax. Another fairly beneficial treatment for sciatica will involve some rest, so take the time to kick your feet up on your bed or sofa and rest.