It’s no secret to anyone who has suffered from sciatica for more than a little while, that there are numerous types of treatments available. You can choose between Eastern and Western medicine, chemical versus natural treatments and alternative or holistic sciatica treatments. The type of treatment you choose will depend on the source of your sciatic pain, what treatments you’ve tried in the past and your preference, of course.
When it comes to holistic treatments, several have proven effective to relieve sciatica symptoms.
Acupuncture has proven to be one of the most effective to relieve lower back pain associated with sciatica. Acupuncture works by using very thin needles that are inserted into the top layers of skin on specific points—known as acupuncture points—that restore balance to the body. By tackling both the pain and the pressure caused by sciatica is the main reason for the success of acupuncture as an effective holistic treatment.
Acupuncture is often costly and rarely covered by insurance, but it has been proven effective over time.
Massage therapy is one holistic treatment that just about everyone relies on to relieve stress or muscle tension. However massage is also a great introduction into holistic care as it is not invasive and easy to find a masseuse. There are many types of massage from which a patient may benefit from, particularly in treating sciatica.
Some massage therapist may combine massage with herbal treatments for pain and tension relief. They may combine special herbs into the massage oils and lotions to help you seek relief.
Muscle balance therapy is yet another holistic treatment that has found much success in treating sciatica, particularly among athletes as it focuses more on the cause of the sciatica rather than simply treating the pain itself. Even if you’ve never heard of it, you probably have a slight muscle imbalance. This imbalance occurs when one set of muscles is tight and tense while the opposing muscles are weak and loose.
So if you perform repeated motions—like swinging a tennis racket—chances are good that the set of muscles in your primary arm will see far more use and therefore far more tension than the muscles in your secondary arm. Muscle balance therapy seeks to balance this out, which will reduce the pain and discomfort of sciatica.
Hot baths are one of the most effective methods of reducing inflammation of the muscles and surrounding tissues. If possible add a little movement in the hot bath—or hot tub if possible—to relax the muscles. Add eucalyptus oil to the hot bath for additional pain relief and you will see why heat is such an effective treatment for sciatica.
Yoga and stretching may be effective for sciatica but it depends on the person. Some with sciatica may not be able to begin this course of holistic treatment right away depending on the level of the pain and how much physical activity the patient regularly performed prior to pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Keep in mind that very few holistic treatments are covered by medical insurance and can be quite costly. However you should also know that these holistic treatments have no known negative side effects compared to pain medication and surgery.
Of course, a change in diet can help the healing process by providing the muscles and tissue with more vitamins and minerals.
Your best course of action is to speak with your physician to find out which methods work best for you. Some physicians may scoff at the idea of using holistic care to treat sciatica, however the decision is ultimately yours and you need as much information as possible to make that choice.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011