Throbbing, burning low back pain combined with radiating pain through the buttocks and down one leg describes what can be an excruciating sciatic condition. Sometimes the pain reports just in the low back and other times just in the leg. Either way, a sciatic condition is one that requires lots of attention so that the afflicted can continue to attend to their life and loved ones. Luckily, most sciatic conditions will heal within a few weeks and most cases do not need surgery. Definitely go see your doctor if you are in pain, especially if it has persisted for 2 weeks or longer.
The magnitude of adults who suffer from painful back conditions is huge, approximately 80% of adults suffer from significant back pain at some point in their adult life. Preventing and addressing back pain is important to address regularly. This article is written specific to sciatic nerve pain, however many of the recommendations apply to back pain in general.
Sciatic nerve fibers originate in the lumbar spine, attach together and then run through the pelvis, under the piriformis, and down the back of the legs, all the way down to the toes. Severe sciatic nerve pain can be felt all the way down the leg into the feet. At its largest point, the sciatic nerve is as wide an adult thumb! Being aware of sciatic nerve anatomy can help you better understand how to address the cause the pain.
Cases of sciatica are caused by either the sciatic nerve, or connecting nerves, being pinched or compressed under the piriformis. There are multiple reasons this might happen, including: pregnancy, tights hips, loose joints after menopause, heaving lifting without proper alignment, sitting too much, a herniated or bulging disk, degenerative spine conditions, and poor alignment of the hips and spine.
The good news is that you can find relief from sciatic pain and prevent future incidences naturally. A healthy spine and proper muscular skeletal alignment will give your life and overall health a quality boost!
This may seem obvious, however it isn't as simple as just taking a pill. Yes, ibuprofen or naproxen can help, but only for the short term. It is important to curb the inflammation that is causing the pain in order to allow your body to rest and realign.
Magnesium is an excellent supplement to help relax your muscles and calm your nervous system. You can take magnesium orally, topically via oil through the skin, or in your bath with epsom salts. Be sure to take vitamin D with it, as it will amplify the power of the magnesium. According to a pubmed.gov study, "Magnesium supplement promotes sciatic nerve regeneration and down-regulates inflammatory response."
Hot and cold treatments will also sooth the pain. You can alternate hot and cold packs on opposite days or one in the morning and one in the evening. Be careful to protect your skin from extreme temperatures and do not do hot and icy cold therapies in the same session. Topical lotions such as Biofreeze and Deep Blue Rub can give you relief while soothing inflammation.
Chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage have been cited throughout medical research as effect treatments for sciatic nerve pain. Keep in mind the cause of sciatica, which is created by the sciatic nerve or adjoining nerves being compressed along the spine or within the pelvis and piriformis muscle. Creating more space and alignment in these areas can be achieved through these alternative therapies.
A chiropractor can readjust your spine and address the cause of the nerve compression. A proper diagnosis will help a chiropractor successfully make the right adjustment and treatment protocol for their patient. Under chiropractic care, your body will receive readjustments and holistic support that will assist your body in healing itself naturally.
The same is true for acupuncture treatments, however your practitioner will use small needles to target specific energy pathways in the body. Acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. The tiny, virtually pain-free placement of the needles, combined with herbs, will amp up your body's natural energy so that it will heal.
A massage therapist will manually work with muscles and fascia around the injury site so that your body will flush out the toxic inflammation, increase circulation, and promote healing. Your therapist will help seized muscles release so that your bones and ligaments can readjust into their proper alignment. Massage therapy also helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system so that your body can head into a healing state and shift out of its pain inducing stress state. Massage has many additional healing benefits that can assist with specific conditions, such as sciatic nerve pain.
Moving to heal is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to back injury and sciatic nerve pain. Building strength in your torso will help to lengthen your spine and promote proper posture. Long periods of sitting or standing will aggravate the nerve compression that is causing sciatic pain.
Yoga sequences that stretch your hamstrings, gently twist your spine, and promote low back engagement and strength will not only help you heal but prevent future instances. The power of yoga and healthy movement such as walking, tai chi, dancing, swimming, or guided strength training is immense. We invited in an excellent yoga teacher, Katy Fay, to model a simple low back sequence in our salt caves.
As we mentioned, sitting for long periods, especially in a standard work station will either aggravate your existing back pain or potentially lead to a whole host of alignment based health issues! Take frequent breaks and move your body. Get outside for fresh air and take short walk. Build in time to move your body throughout the day. Additionally, invest in a quality chair with lumbar support or use a system that builds your strength while you sit such as a Swopper-like chair or yoga ball seat. Consider a standing work station that allows you to adjust your range of movement throughout the day.
When lifting heaving objects be sure to NEVER twist while lifting and be sure to lift with your legs not your back!
Proper hydration and an anti inflammatory diet will do wonders in reducing your pain. A diet rich in leafy greens, healthy fats, berries, and nuts will help assist your body in combating the inflammation caused by your painful sciatic or misaligned back. Limit alcohol, coffee, and refined sugars and grains to cool the inflammation in your body so that it can rebuild and heal.