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Medic for Sciatic Nerve Pain

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Sciatica is pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. It usually affects only one part of the body but tends to be severe and debilitating.

The pain usually extends from the lower back to the rear of the thigh and down through the leg.

It can be accompanied by symptoms like burning or tingling down the leg, shooting pain that causes difficulty standing up or sitting down, and numbness and weakness down the affected leg and even in the toes.

sciatica diagram

Sciatica is most often caused by a herniated or slipped disc. It can also be caused by issues like a spinal injury or infection, degenerative disc disease, pregnancy, spinal stenosis, isthmic spondylolisthesis and piriformis syndrome.

Although there are many conventional treatments for sciatica, they may only ease the pain temporarily. Plus, most steroid injections can cause serious side effects.

You can use some home remedies and natural therapies as well to reduce inflammation and pressure on the irritated sciatic nerve. Plus, in most cases, the problem goes away with time (around 6 weeks) and rest.

home remedies for sciatica

Here are the top 10 home remedies for sciatica.

1. Hot or Cold Compresses

Using hot or cold compresses can help relieve sciatica pain and inflammation. Heat treatment relaxes tense muscles that may be compressing the sciatic nerve.

hot and cold compresses for sciatica

Cold treatment reduces swelling around the nerve and also numbs the pain.

You can also alternate heat and cold, starting with the hot compress and ending with the cold compress. When using heat, use moist heat like a steamed towel as it is more effective.

  1. Place a hot or cold pack on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Do this every few hours until you get relief.

Note: Do not use cold compresses if you have circulatory problems.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is another effective natural remedy for sciatica because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains a compound called curcumin that helps reduce nerve pain and inflammation.

  • Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to 1 cup of milk. You can also add a small cinnamon stick. Boil the solution. Sweeten this healthy drink with honey and drink it once or twice daily until you see improvement.
  • Another option is to take 250 to 500 mg turmeric supplements 3 times a day for several weeks. Consult your doctor first.

Note: Turmeric may not be suitable for those taking blood thinners or diabetes medications. Those suffering from gallstones should also avoid it.

3. Massage

Massage therapy can relieve sciatica pain and also help the body heal itself, especially if the problem is caused by a muscle spasm.

massage for sciatica nerve pain

Plus, it helps release tension, stimulate circulation and increase the range of motion.

  • Massage the affected area with St. John’s wort oil 2 or 3 times a day until you get relief. St John’s wort has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve sciatica pain and inflammation.
  • Another option is to add 3 tablespoons of nutmeg powder to 1 cup of sesame oil. Heat the mixture. Allow it to cool and massage the affected area with it when it is comfortably warm. Do this a few times a day for a few weeks.
  • You can also consider trigger-point massage therapy at least once daily. Pain in the lower back, buttocks and side of the thighs is often associated with trigger points in the gluteus medius and minimus muscles.

4. Exercises

In addition to rest, maintaining normal activity is highly beneficial for dealing with sciatica.

A day or two after a sciatica flare up, you can start a regular exercise program to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles. Strengthening the core muscles helps facilitate quick recovery.

knee to chest exercise for sciatica

You can do Knee to Chest Stretch to help reduce the irritation of the sciatic nerve and improve flexibility of your lower back.

  1. Lie on your back on a mat with your feet straight and hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your upper body relaxed and bend your right knee upwards with an inhale.
  3. Clasp your hands behind the thigh and gently pull it towards your chest as far as is comfortable.
  4. Keep the other leg flat on the surface.
  5. Hold this position for 20 seconds with controlled deep breaths and then lower your leg gently.
  6. Switch legs and repeat.
  7. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
  8. Finally do this exercise with both the legs 3 to 5 times.

You can also do exercises like spinal rolling, knees rocking, floor twists, backblock, back extensions, sciatic-mobilizing stretches and certain yoga poses like the cat-cow pose and pigeon pose to help relieve sciatica and lower back pain. You can try spinal decompression exercises as well.

Note: Consult your doctor to help implement the right exercise program for your case.

5. Capsaicin Cream

Capsaicin cream for sciatica nerve pain

Cayenne pepper contains an active ingredient called capsaicin that works as a natural pain reliever. It helps deplete the levels of a neurotransmitter called substance P, which transports pain signals.

  1. Buy a cream or ointment containing 0.025% to 0.075% capsaicin.
  2. Apply it on the affected area up to 4 times a day, at least for 1 week.

Note: Capsaicin cream or ointment may cause a burning sensation initially. Do not apply it on broken skin.

6. Valerian

sciatic nerve pain valerian tea

Valerian root works as a relaxant and relieves chronic nerve pain. It is particularly good for easing sciatica pain caused by a muscle spasm.

The herb contains volatile oils that help relax your muscles and ease tension. It is popularly used as a sleeping aid as well.

  • Take 150 mg of valerian root supplement 3 times a day for a few weeks. Consult your doctor first.
  • You can also drink valerian tea prepared by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Drink this herbal tea several times a week for a few weeks.

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50 thoughts on “Medic for Sciatic Nerve Pain”

  1. Thanks for the information. My medical providers have just poo-pooed this condition. Never an explanation or info re: home management. “Just take this pill.”

  2. Thanks so much for the information. I’m suffering [leg inflammation down totoes] so painful can’t sleep. I do massage n use hot compress n it feels great can sleep now. God bless

  3. Hi! I have suffered for 8 months refusing to take painkillers. Then it hit me. I started to use combination of turmeric, boswellia and fish oil pills. Within days the pain faded. And within a month I was healed. I used no pharma garbage, only herbs and cold compresses. Never hot compresses as the nerve in the leg is inflamed. Heating it, will worsen the inflammation. Furthermore lie down with legs up and feet flat on the couch. It will relieve your back!

    1. Thanks for the advice! I’m trying to help a dear friend of mine who is in continuous pain daily. He has tried heat compressions, DOESN’T work. He’s taking pain pills every night to kill the pain. My prayer is that this home remedy works for him. Thanks again for sharing your experience!

    2. Please can you tell me which compresse weather hot or cold should be used in which situation of sciatica my dad is in severe pain.please tell some if know any.

  4. This sciatica pain is about to get the best of me, I’m going to try these exercises to see if they help, I pray they do. THANK You

  5. I have been dealing with sciatica for the past few months and it can really be hard to deal with. The shooting pains into my leg make working really hard and there have been a few instances where I have had to leave early because the pain was just too much. I have been looking for some home remedies to help me cope with this so I am glad that I came across this list! I will have to test out those exercises. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’ve been dealing with sciatic nerve pain for over 3 weeks straight this has been the worst 3weeks ever the pain is unbareable uncomfortable to sit, lay down, stand all around annoying I’ve notice when I apply a heating pad against my back the pain shoots down to my ankle which is just excruciating I hope I find something to ease the pain

  7. I’ll tell anyone one thing-I wouldn’t wish sciatica on an enemy. I was hit by an automobile 1996, and every year this sciatica gets worse and lasts longer. Doctors are reluctant to prescribe heavy-pain hitting medication, because they know sciatica has a way of resistance to any medication, because doctors know sciatica will soon either outlive the meds, but other than 800MG Ibuprofen, which its effects really wares off before-long anyhow. Ibuprofen along with extra strength Excedrin does good for a few days, buy have to switch back to the Aleve with Ibu, because these meds top-out within a few days-its a pain pill popping game. My inards are taking a huge beating during these sciatica episodes of spasms,

  8. Thanks for the info. Although I’m not in “pain”, my symptoms are spasms, numbness and not being able to walk or stand on my left leg. It usually happens when I stand up or change positions while sitting or laying in bed. I’ve been to the emergency room 3 times in the past two weeks with no diagnosis. I truly hope the exercises and massage therapy will “fix” me. I get dizzy spells along with the spasms and it’s affecting my ability to work.

  9. This can be one of the worst pains to have to live with aside from the pain in my wrists from my car-pul tunnel syndrome. When they offered me the epidural to relieve the sciatica pain I figured that would be immediate relief and couldn’t wait, little did I know more often then not it doesn’t work, and I wouldn’t be able to get my injections in my wrists,which always helps. Now I have to deal with the two types of pain in the lower and upper parts of my body. I’m gonna try some of the suggestions and hopefully get some relief, although my hands hurt so bad massaging is out of the question. Thanks everyone for sharing.

  10. Oh mine at last I read something useful about this pain that’s been irritating me for 2 weeks already. I had to cut my vacation short ’cause I didn’t no what was happening to me. Thank you for all that Info. My whole right leg hurts from my buttocks to my right foot and all my toes feels numb and the sole of my foot feel as If I had
    a cut

  11. Hi! I like to thank you for this informative web sight. I’m new to this sciatic nerve pain and the systems I’m experiencing are right on. It helps to deal with conditions when your more familiar and have a better understanding of it. And thanks to those involved in the design and lay out of this sight. It was to the point that helps to start applying these suggestions promptly.

  12. Anne July 15th, 2016, 11:09 a.m.

    Hi, I also suffer with the sciatic nerve pain, My nerve pain is always in my lower back, the pain very rarely travels through my leg, the worst part of sciatic nerve pain, for me, are the constant back spasms it brings, the spasms are so strong, it takes my breath away with each explosive spasm! Does this happen to all who suffer with sciatic nerve damage? What do you suggest in using, when our back spasms, take us to our knees? These last two days, I’ve had to crawl, from one room to another, its just too painful to stand, any help, will sure be a blessing, thank you! 🙂

  13. Thanks for the tips everyone Im new to experiencing horrible sciatic pain, and very thankful for the info, I’m trying to resist going to the hospital, this is my first time with sciatic neve pain will this be an ongoing problem.. will the pain return and is it from heavy lifting or any ideas as to how to prevent this from happining again thank you for any help.

  14. I am facing this pain for last 3 weeks. Doing physiothrepay also taking medicines doing the above excersize but still it is there. I went to sea side and remain inside waves for around 5 hours , i went there after 2 years. so i guess something happened with my body and its still paining. is there any one who knows a quick therpay? I m 28 years old. I have to sit a lot and travel while sitting. that is my routine.

  15. Thank you for the info. Have bought several suggested products to try, and will do the exercises. It’s been a real pain in the butt lately and yep, legs too.

    Noelle

  16. Pain is excruiating. Have been to er twice now and drs there gave me steroid shots both times. They helped immediately but only lasted a couple of days then pain was back. Horrible pain. Ice works well and eases the pain. Also walking, if u can, seems to help. Sitting or lying down makes it worse. Good luck to anyone who is suffering from this debilitating condition.

  17. I had it so bad it felt like hot water pouring down my leg, couldn’t sleep even on anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer, nuerotin ! My leg was so stiff and hard from muscle spasms. I tried a remedy of just one that I had at the house- You boil milk with some water in it and put 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, I had minced garlic so I put 4 or 5 spoons of it in it. You stir and lightly boil it till it reduces down some, then I strained it and added some sugar- it took maybe 15 minutes and I could feel the fire leaving the nerve, I read to drink it 2 x day for a week or till you feel better. Thank God for something that worked, I was about to give up…

  18. I have had sciatica, about 2 years now, but have tried many things. I find taking extra strong turmeric, from holistic store all natural, use real time pain relief, from Amazon, I can at least do things as natural as possible without taking drugs!

  19. Thank u for d information 🙂 I m dealing with this from past five days .. I m having harrible pain 🙂 can’t walk ,sit ….its too paining 🙂 I m taking pain killers too with that .. As I HV small baby .. Need to tale care of her .. This I m experiencing for d first time ..

  20. Why is it that people who leave comments cannot spell anything correctly? I have sciatic nerve “pain” which I would describe as more aggravating than excruciating. It keeps me wake at tonight because I cannot get my leg into a comfortable position .I am fine during the day when I am up and about but laying down is the trigger and I am very tired due to sleep loss.I am trying some exercises intended to relieve some of the pressure on the nerve. I can’t say they are doing much. I am seeing a spine Dr. in 8 days and hopefully he will be able to do something to alleviate this for me. Right now it is every night but it has been just on occasion that I have a bad night. I think going up and down stairs gets it flared up.I am taking advil, 2 every 4 hours : I have tried aleve, 2 over 24 hours and the past two nights I have taken 10mg ooxycodone. Has anyone had surgery and was it successful?

    1. Sharon, I have had similar problems with bedrest and sciatic pain. When I wake up, it takes a while, but as I do some walking around the pain subsides. Night is a different story. I found that a pillow between the legs is a help, for a side sleeper like me. If you are a back sleeper, try placing the pillow under the knees. Also, the mattress you sleep on can make a big difference. I get better results with memory foam mattresses. Finally, have you given chiropractic treatments a try? I am lucky to have a very capable chiropractor who will is always willing to work with medical doctors to map out a good course of treatment. She is one of those chiropractors who does not claim miracle cures or that she can treat everything, but with spinal manipulation, massage, and electrical stimulation treatments, there has been progress. So if you go to a chiropractor, do some research, and try to find one who is reputable.

  21. I have used accupuncture witb great success, combined with chiropractic. Within one week of onset and two treatments all of my muscle spasms were gone, pain level decreased 90% and I did not need any more meds. My insurance covered the Chiropractic but not the acupuncture and so I had to pay that myself. I’ve used a lot of ice and stretching and haven’t had any muscle spasms this for 3 years.

  22. I should add I also work in the medical field and I would always use any kind of spinal intervention with injections surgery etc. as an absolute last resort. There can be lots of long-term side effects of those surgeries which can also be very hard to treat in and of itself.

  23. Had sciatica flare up on 12 April 2017 and doctor prescribed pain pills and PT. PT ( physical therapy) guy had me do some 1/2 push-ups, leaving your pelvis on the mat as much as possible. At the max extension of the push-up simply exhale everything in your lungs and he would apply downward pressure in my lumbar area. Do this 10 times and rest. I repeated this 4 times in the PT area and several more times at home. Sciatic pain is gone. He explained that this forces the sciatic nerve to move and in some cases it releases the ‘pinched’ condition. Not recommended if you have obvious disk and spine issues but it sure helped me.

  24. I received back injections for my sciatica a couple of weeks ago and since then my sciatica pain/discomfort has increased to where I can barely walk. when I talked to my doctor about this he could not give me an answer other than I guess we will have to try another injection. I told him no thanks. I still can’t walk.

  25. Yes, injections are temporary solutions with me. My sciatica pain has bothered off and on for many years and the pain has been closer to excruciating than aggravating. For me, alternating ice pack and heating pad – ten minutes in cycles of three, lying down and elevating leg, and stretching exercises as well as hydrocodone pills helps relieve the pain.

  26. I had one a year ago no matter how I tried to sit, walk, stand or lie down it’s so damn painful so I was rushed to the urgent care emergency that has no waiting & was given 14cc of morphine shot right away to ease the pain good for a week until I see a specialist who they referred to me. The specialist asked me to get an MRI which of course the result he read to me that there was a chipped disk on my L4 & L5. He did the procedure in the clinic then a week after he ran an acupuncture nerve test & electrical stimulation treatment on my back down to my left leg up to my toes as my lower left side was affected somewhat kind of numbness feeling that was uncomfortable. A week after that I did a physical therapy exercise in the clinic by their in house PT- it was a simple stretching & basic yoga. I was doing the therapy for one hour, twice a week for two months in the clinic. The pain was still there off & on so I was scheduled for an Epidural steroid shot the third month. Still continue with the exercise….still the off & on pain never want to leave me so the doctor scheduled me for another shot and that’s when I said enough for the shot. I will just continue doing my exercise at home and have my back and leg massaged every other night with a liniment gel topical analgesic. It works. When I wake up in the morning the feeling is so nice, so light that I can’t feel any pain or numbness on my leg….as much as possible I want to avoid pills & shots as it’s not good for our kidney & liver also….however, my brother in law had the same problem and he bought an inversion table and he’s using it once in the morning before going to work and once at night before going to bed and he claimed it really worked for him. I’m beginning to be tempted to get one and see how it works for me, too.

  27. I have had sciatic nerve pain for over a year and it hurts so bad that I can’t walk or stand for long periods of time! Going to the Dr. and getting stretched hurts it even more! I don’t know what else to do! GRRR!

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