You wake up and there it is again—sciatica pain. Around 40 percent of people will experience sciatica pain in the legs and back, from irritation of the sciatic nerve, in their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean it’s “normal” or that you have to continue suffering. Chronic sciatica may come and go, or it may be in the background most of the time, flaring up now and then. If you woke up with the pain this morning, it’s likely that you didn’t get good, restful sleep last night.
How can you calm your pain now and end the cycle of recurrence? The good news is that you have lots of options, but you'll need to use or try more than one, to find out what works for you. Some solutions involve consistent lifestyle changes like exercise and others, like Functional Disc RehydrationTM, can eliminate pain quickly and naturally.
Getting past the pain of sciatica
- Medicate: Over-the-counter NSAIDs can help.
- Stretch: Do simple stretches at your desk or work area/workstation. Take a break and/or work walking into your day if you normally sit. Sit and gently stretch if you normally stand while working.
- Apply heat and/or cold: If you can do this where you are.
- See your physician: If you haven't done so. Although not ideal long term, prescription meds can help and epidurals can be done on a limited basis.
Becoming stronger to fight chronic sciatica pain
- Core exercise: Strengthen the muscles that support your body, especially lower back, stomach, hips, and pelvic area plus shoulders and neck. Get a plan designed for you by a medical professional--and stay the course.
- Stretch every day: To stay flexible and as a warm-up to exercise. Try a yoga class a couple of times per week and continue if it helps you. Check with your doctor and inform the instructor about your specific physical condition.
- Get in some cardio: Opt for non-jarring exercise, like swimming, biking or using an elliptical machine. As with all exercise, start slow. Work out with a buddy if it helps keep you motivated and makes exercising more fun.
- Posture and body mechanics: Sit and stand in correct position--and shift often. Use chairs that support your lower back (and adjust the seat in your car) or add a lumbar pillow. Sleep in proper position on a relatively firm mattress. Seek guidance from your physical therapist or other professional about proper positions if you’re unsure.
- Proper diet: Set a goal of losing weight if you need to. Eat fresh, healthy foods and make sure you get enough protein and water. Take supplements as needed. Advice tailored to your current health and your specific goals is invaluable.
Ending the cycle of chronic sciatica pain
- Work the good habits above into your lifestyle: You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or diet drastically, just work up to a healthy level consistent with your age and abilities--and keep at it.
- Try natural alternative treatments like acupuncture: If it helps, continue on a regular basis.
- Learn about Functional Disc RehydrationTM. This innovative yet simple treatment is new to many and it's worked for a large number of sciatica patients. Designed to actually rejuvenate the spine, by a former back pain sufferer who just happens to be a back specialist, Dr. Jeff Winternheimer, D.C. This non-invasive treatment has ended the pain cycle for many people who’d almost given up on living pain free.
See your back specialist to find the quickest path to pain relief--with treatment tailored to you personally. Get your free back pain consultation at the Illinois Back Institute today.