Sciatica is the intense pain caused by the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. It is debilitating and severe and usually affects one side of the body, from the lower back, through the buttocks, to the back of one leg.
Despite the pain, it also causes weakness and numbness in the leg and toes, burning sensation in the leg, tingling, and difficulties both, to stand up and sit down.
Its most common cause is herniated or slipped disc. Yet, sciatica may also result from spinal injury or infection, degenerative disc disease, pregnancy, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, and isthmic spondylolisthesis.
There are numerous different treatments for this painful condition, but in most cases, the pain is relieved only temporarily. Also, the steroid injections which are often used cause severe adverse effects.
On the other hand, the pressure and inflammation caused by the irritated sciatic nerve can also be soothed using natural homemade remedies.
In most cases, their application, combined with proper rest, gives effects in 6 weeks.
These are the 10 best home remedies for sciatica:
Turmeric is extremely effective in the treatment of sciatica pain as it has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Its active ingredient, curcumin reduces the pain and soothes the inflammation. You should boil a cup of milk, add a teaspoon of turmeric, and if you want, you can also add a small cinnamon stick and honey for taste. Drink this a few times daily.
You can also take turmeric supplements, 250-300 milligrams 3 times daily for several weeks. Yet, note that you should not use turmeric is you take diabetes medication, blood thinners, or gallstones.
Acupuncture efficiently relaxes the muscles and treats the pain. It stimulates certain points of the body and thus triggers the central nervous system, which releases chemicals which accelerate the recovery and change the perception of pain.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, warmed acupuncture with heated needles effectively relieves sciatica pain. The study involved 30 participants, and even 17 of them were completely cured of sciatica pain after the treatment.
The massage therapy can effectively treat sciatica pain and also supports the healing of the body, especially if the cause is a muscle spasm. It will release the tension, improve the range of motion, and stimulate blood circulation.
You can use St John’s Wort’s oil which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and soothes sciatica inflammation and pain. Massage the painful areas 2-3 times daily.
As the pain starts in the lower back and stretches along the thighs and buttocks, it is often related to the trigger points in the gluteus minimus and medius muscles, so a trigger-point massage at least once a day will provide great relief.
Additionally, you can mix a cup of sesame oil and 3 tablespoons of nutmeg powder, heat the mixture, leave it to cool, and use it for massaging. Repeat 2-3 times a week.
Hot or Cold Compresses
The treatments with hot and cold compresses provide great relief in this case, as the cold numbs the pain and reduces the swelling around the sciatic nerve, while the heat relaxes the muscle which may cause the pressure on the nerve.
You can also combine the two and start with a hot and finish with a cold treatment.
For best effects, use a steamed towel for the hot compress. Apply the compress on the area and leave it to act for 15-20 minutes. Repeat on 2 hours for a quick pain relief.
However, you should not try this treatment if you have circulatory issues.
The active ingredient in cayenne pepper, capsaicin, naturally relieves pain as it helps deplete the substance P levels (a neurotransmitter that transports the signals for pain). Prepare an ointment or cream with 0.025% to 0.075% capsaicin and apply on the affected area 3-4 times daily for a week.
Remember to avoid its application on a broken skin, as it may result in a burning sensation.
Fenugreek seeds have potent anti-inflammatory properties which can be of great help in the case of sciatica, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. This is how to prepare the helpful fenugreek seeds poultice: Grind the seeds and add them to a cup of milk. Then, boil the mixture until it gets mushy.
Afterward, apply it on the painful area and leave it to act for a few hours. Repeat every day.
White Willow Bark
The bark of white willow has potent pain-soothing, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties, due to the olic glycosides with salicin it contains. You should take 120 milligrams of white willow supplement or 240 milligrams of salicin daily for 2-3 weeks.
The Valerian root soothes chronic nerve pain and treats sciatica pain due to a muscle spasm. It contains volatile oils which lower the tension and relax the muscles.
Due to its favorable effects, it can be used as a sleeping aid. You can take this herb in the form of supplements, 150 milligrams 3 times daily for 2-3 weeks, or drink it as tea.
Just add a teaspoon of dried valerian root in a cup of boiled water, leave it to steep for 10 minutes, and drink it several times a week.
Sciatica pain can be significantly reduced with regular exercise and physical activity. You should exercise regularly in order to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and the back, in order to accelerate the recovery process.
The following exercise “knee to chest stretch’ will soothe the irritation of the sciatic nerve and enhance the flexibility of the lower back.
Start in a lying position, with the legs stretched and hip-width apart legs. Relax the upper part of the body, and bend the knee upwards while inhaling.
Then, move the thigh towards the chest while keeping the hands clasped behind it. Remember to keep the legs flat on the ground. Hold in this position for 20 seconds and breathe deeply.
Afterward, lower the legs carefully. Repeat the same with the other leg for 3-5 times. Make sure you do the exercise for about 3-5 minutes with both legs.
You can also benefit a lot from some yoga stretches like the cat-cow pose and the pigeon pose. Also, try spinal decompression exercises. Yet, always consult your doctor before doing any of these exercises.
The chiropractic care is one of the most efficient ways to treat the pain in the back and neck. Many different techniques include short and rapid thrusts in the chiropractic spinal manipulation in order to relieve the irritation of the nerve which causes the other symptoms and the inflammation.
A study conducted in 2010 and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that 60 percent of the participants suffering from this condition experienced the same relief due to the spinal manipulation as if a surgical intervention was performed.
- Quit smoking as it promotes disc degeneration
- Your mattress should be neither too soft nor too firm
- Avoid making sudden movements
- You should take vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium supplements
- After a consultation with your doctor, try other herbal remedies, such as the alcohol-based extract made from the parijat (harshiangar) leaves (1); 1,500 to 2,000 mg twice a day of devil’s claw (avoid it in the case of peptic ulcer).
- Practice proper lifting techniques with a straight back and bent knees
- Proper body posture will reduce the pressure on the lower back
- Regular exercise can be of great help, but do not perform any intense exercises