Sciatica is a group of symptoms caused by pressure or inflammation on the root nerves feeding the sciatic nerve, or on the nerve itself. The pain it causes is acute, sharp, and shooting from the lower or middle back down the buttocks into the legs and toes. If this is the kind of pain you have, you have sciatica, an entirely curable condition. You do not have to live with your pain forever. There are many ways to relieve the symptoms, both in alternative medicine and standard forms. Here are some of the most common approaches by standard practices and alternative medicines to heal the symptoms of sciatica.
The sciatic nerve has an amazing ability to heal itself. Most cases of sciatica do not persist for most than a few months, and usually only last as little as a few days, although the pain can flare up at a later date. Most sufferers will find that a home pain management system involving personal physical therapy through dedicated exercise as well as pain management techniques will alleviate and eradicate the pain of sciatica. Others may have more severe case of sciatica, and a more intensive pain management system will be in order – one that may include surgery.
In the initial flare up of sciatica, heat or ice can go a long way to relieve suffering. Use whichever you prefer. Some find heat more relaxing of the pain, and others ice. Apply pressure to the pained areas with for about than twenty minutes, and then continue on and off at two hour intervals until the pain is completely gone.
Inflammation often contributes to the pain of sciatica. For this reason, over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen and Tylenol will alleviate your pain. If the pain does not diminish with these over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, the next drug you can try is a steroid injection directly to the location of the pain. Like ibuprofen, steroid injections are temporary treatments for the condition; they will dull the inflammation around the sciatic nerve long enough for you to continue with an exercise or physical therapy program. It is these programs that will provide the longest term relief, from not just sciatica but other types of back pain and ailments.
Besides drug use, alternative medicine offers a number of approaches to ebb the pain of sciatica. Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years and is well-known in the United States as a way of addressing back pain. Acupuncture works on the theory that energy-called Chi or Qi (pronounced Chee)-circulates through the body and when circulation is interrupted; pain, stiffness, and disease can develop. Chi flows through meridian points, which can be unblocked by acupuncture needles. The needles are sterilized and disposable. Many patients find acupuncture a relaxing and healing process, although some are understandably standoffish to the idea of being stuck with needles. The needles however, are not painful and do not draw blood.
Other alternative cures to sciatica include back massage, physical therapy, and exercise. If sciatica appears it indicates you have been living an unhealthy lifestyle for too long; it is a message to change your approach to living, to clean up your act. Take that as a warning from a friend, even though it is a painful warning. Fortunately, the pain can introduce you to a lifetime of improved health.