How to Relieve Sciatica
What is Sciatica Pain?
Everyone who suffers with sciatica has different stories to tell. Sciatica symptoms are felt in a variety of ways, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to determine the best pain relief for sciatica. Sciatic pain stems from the sciatic nerve having been compressed, or the nerve’s surroundings having become inflamed. The sciatic nerve pain a person experiences is commonly misdiagnosed as a condition, whereas unlike conventional back pain, hip pain or leg pain, sciatica is actually a symptom. That doesn’t change the fact that, for the most part, sciatica can be incredibly painful and can end up completely immobilising a person.
How long does sciatica last? That’s hard to say. Sometimes the pain will be intermittent, but other times it will be consistent. For anyone who is unsure of what helps sciatica, or who struggle to find a specialist during the week, we’ve outlined some common methods of how to treat sciatica. These methods include some widely-used stretches and exercises which can help alleviate the pressure and pain you experience.
Sciatica Exercises and Stretches
There are several exercises for sciatica pain which can prove exceptionally relieving, particularly for those who are confined to long hours sitting down.
- Pigeon exercises. The pigeon pose is a common yoga pose that can be modified in a number of ways, which stretches the hips. The reclining pigeon pose is a good starting point, which helps to stretch the piriformis muscle, a muscle that’s often prone to inflammation, causing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Pigeon pose can also be done sat down, or on all fours.
- Seated stretches. It’s common to experience pain while sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Regular stretching can help reduce neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches in the workplace. Simple chest and torso stretches, shoulder shrugs, spinal twists and the highly recommended seated hip stretch can help lessen the pressure on the sciatic nerve, and help improve your flexibility. Also, taking regular breaks to stand and stretch your body will make a difference.
- Hamstring and calf stretches. This may be news to some reading this, but hamstring muscles can pull on the pelvis, which can irritate the sciatic nerve. Getting on your feet and regularly stretching the hamstrings and calves could actually prove valuable in relieving some pressure.
- Swim! Swimming can be a very valuable way to ease sciatic pain, as well as increase overall flexibility and loosen joints. Any release of endorphins is good for the body, but swimming for sciatica is recommended on the basis of the water providing an almost ‘weightless’ experience for the body. The body’s joints, muscles and nerves will be under less pressure and will be given some room to heal and strengthen.
- McKenzie Method. Extending the spine can not only provide pain relief but also help with overall spine health. The McKenzie Method goal is to reduce pain quickly, minimising risk of pain recurrence and getting back to normal activities as quickly as possible. The McKenzie Method tenet for health is self-care and self-treatment, rather than rely on medicinal modalities such as acupuncture or surgery. This self-care method is also instrumental in repositioning intervertebral discs, which may have become slightly misaligned in the lower back.
Although there is a chance that any of the above remedies may provide immediate relief, the reality is that these are all short-term solutions to a potential long-term problem. Visiting a chiropractor is the most valuable piece of advice anyone can give you, if you’re experiencing sciatica symptoms in the hip, back or legs.
It’s fair to say that many who have experienced sciatica symptoms for long periods of time, and found little success with non-surgical treatments will have considered surgery. Such examples might be microdiscectomy or lumbar decompression to treat bilateral sciatica (in other words, sciatica in both legs).
However, chiropractic care is arguably a more effective method of treatment for symptoms of sciatica, purely on the basis of how such treatment isolates areas of pain, realigns your whole body and provides bespoke long-term plans to stay pain-free. There is no guarantee sciatica symptoms will be completely eradicated with a surgical operation.
Chiropractors are focused on the central nervous system, which is protected by the spine. Chiropractic treatment follows the mantra of ‘the brain controlling the body’, whereby the brain sends messages (via pain) when it senses something isn’t right with the body. No matter what causes sciatica to flare up in you, a highly-experienced professional here at London Wellness Centres will be able to determine the best pain relief for sciatica for you specifically, after an initial consultation.
If you’re asking, ‘Can a chiropractor help with sciatica?’ The answer is YES! Paying a visit to London Wellness Centres in either of our flagship locations (Canary Wharf or London Bridge) can be the first step in your journey to long-term sciatica relief.