Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms that occur as a result of the sciatic nerve becoming pinched or compressed. The symptoms include pain, that can be severe, and tingling or numbness in the lower extremities.
Causes of sciatica and lower back pain are wide ranging. A sudden trauma or injury can cause the spine to put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Also, many pregnant women experience sciatica, particularly in the later months when the fetus pushes organs and muscles out of place, and added weight causes poor posture for the mother. Additionally, herniated discs in the lower back can easily lead to sciatica. Even something as simple as poor posture and weakened muscles can cause things to be pushed out of place and put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Treatments for sciatica and lower back pain are often successful in minimally invasive ways.
The Chinese believe there’s more to our bodies than organs and tissue. They believe in an inner energy, called the Chi. It’s thought that low back pain, or any type of dysfunction really, is caused by a stagnant Chi, and acupuncture helps break up the stagnation and stimulate the flow of energy once more.
• NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) will help reduce swelling and lessen pain and pressure on the nerve.
• Acupuncture is becoming more and more popular as an effective treatment for sciatica and lower back pain. The treatment originated in China and works by inserting many small needles into the affected area. The needles encourage endorphin production to help stimulate and promote healing in the lower back.
• Hot and cold therapy can also be helpful in relieving sciatica and lower back pain. Cold temperatures, whether from an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables, help to reduce swelling, which relieves pressure on the sciatic nerve. Heat helps to increase oxygen and nutrient rich blood flow to the affected area to promote healing. It also helps to relax tension away and reduce pain. A typical heating pad may only provide limited relief. However, The Healthy Back Institute’s infrared heating pad uses the latest technology which allows heat to penetrate deep into the tissue and muscles bringing long lasting pain relief to the user. Visit losethebackpain.com to see The Healthy Back Institute’s selection of infrared heating pads.
• Getting a good massage can also help. The motion, like heat, helps increase blood flow and relaxes tension away quickly and effectively.
Once you’ve suffered from sciatica, it’s not something you’ll want to endure again. One way to prevent it from recurring is to improve your posture. Poor posture can cause things to be pushed out of place and result in lower back pain. Just being aware of your posture is sometimes half the battle. The ideal position for the spine is sort of an “S” shape. Sitting for long periods can create more of a “C” shape, and lead to low back pain and sciatica. Try using a lumbar or orthopedic cushion. They come in many varieties, but they all help support your lower back and relieve pressure that may be placed on your sciatic nerve. The Healthy Back Institute has a wide range of lower back cushions to help relieve your sciatica and prevent it from coming back.
Another way to prevent sciatica altogether is to perform regular exercise and stretches. Strengthening your core will help support your upper body from within, and prevent too much weight being placed on sensitive areas. Having a strong and healthy core makes it that much easier to maintain good posture. Stretching will help loosen and relax tense muscles preventing and relieving any pain you may be carrying there.
Written By: Updated: July 20,2011