There’s lower back pain and then there’s sciatica, which is in a class of its own thanks to the symptoms that often radiate down one of your buttocks and legs. When you have sciatica, simple acts like taking a shower can become an exercise in excruciating pain, which makes finding relief your top mission.
To help you better cope with sciatica, our team of pain management specialists here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management thought it would be helpful to review five of your best treatment options.
1. Anti-inflammatory medications
One of the first things you can do to find relief from sciatica is to take anti-inflammatory medications. These medications are available over the counter and should offer you some temporary relief as you try to move throughout your day.
2. Ice and heat therapies
When sciatica pain first strikes, apply ice to your lower back to address any inflammation. Ice your lower back for about 20 minutes, three times a day. Once the pain is manageable, you can introduce hot therapies by placing a hot pack on the area for 20 minutes at a time, which helps relieve muscle strain.
3. Prescription medications
If over-the-counter medications along with ice and hot packs aren’t relieving your sciatica pain, we urge you to come see us so that we can find a better pain-relieving medication. With stronger prescription medications, you can regain pain-free movement, which allows you to take some steps to improve your sciatica, including the following.
4. Stretching and physical therapy
One of the best ways to treat sciatica pain and to prevent sciatica in the future is through physical therapy and stretching. With physical therapy, we can target and strengthen the surrounding muscles in your back to take the pressure off your sciatic nerve.
Stretching exercises while you’re in the midst of a sciatica episode can also be highly beneficial. Sciatica is caused when your sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, so anything you can do to relieve the pressure is good.
To get you started, here are a few stretches that can help with sciatica pain:
Reclining pigeon pose
Lie on your back and place your feet close to your hips so that your knees are bent. First, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Now, clasp your hands behind your left thigh and pull gently toward you and hold. Repeat on the other side.
Sitting pigeon pose
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your right leg and place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Now bend forward and feel the stretch in your lower back. Repeat on the other side.
Knee to opposite shoulder
Lie on the floor with your legs outstretched, feet pointing upward. Bend one leg and draw it across your body toward the opposite shoulder and hold. Repeat on the other side.
5. Nerve blocks and epidural injections
If your sciatica still presents problems after trying conservative treatments, we can turn to nerve blocks and/or epidural injections. These injections contain both anti-inflammatory and analgesic components and are extremely effective in providing relief from stubborn sciatica pain.
To learn more about your treatment options for sciatica, contact one of our two offices in Hartsdale or Staten Island, New York, so that we can get you on the road to relief as quickly as possible.