The pain triggered by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica. Even though it affects just one body part, it can be severe and debilitating, starting from the lower back to the back of the leg.
The other symptoms that can be experienced are weakness and numbness down the affected leg and toes, tingling or burning sensation in the leg, shooting pain that triggers difficulty sitting down or standing up.
In fact, the most common cause of sciatica is a slipped or herniated disc, but it can also be caused by spinal injury or infection, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, isthmic spondylolisthesis, and pregnancy.
Today, there are a variety of conventional treatments for this condition, but most of them just temporarily alleviate the pain. What’s more, most of the steroid injections can contribute to severe side effects.
But, you can decrease the irritated sciatic nerve pressure and inflammation thanks to some natural therapies and homemade remedies, and the problem will most probably disappear within six weeks.
10 homemade remedies for alleviation of the painful sciatica:
Despite it can alleviate sciatica pain, but massage therapy can also help the body heal itself, especially in case a muscle spasm triggers the problem. You should also use St. John’s wort oil to massage the affected area two to three times daily, until you notice relief as this herb can relieve sciatica inflammation and pain.
Or make a mixture of 1 cup of sesame oil and 3 tablespoons of nutmeg powder. Then, heat the mixture and leave it cool until it’s comfortably warm before massaging. This treatment should be repeated a few times on a daily basis for a couple of weeks.
As the pain in the lower back, thighs and buttocks is usually related to the trigger points in the gluteus minimus as well as medius muscles, you can also think about having trigger-point massage at least once a day.
2. Hot or cold compresses
By using hot or cold compresses you can alleviate the sciatica inflammation and pain. The cold compress actually numbs the pain and reduces the swelling around the nerve, whereas the heat compress relaxes tense muscles that might be pressing the sciatic nerve.
Or you can also make a combination of heat and cold treatment, beginning with the hot and ending with the cold treatment. Additionally, you should use steamed towel for the hot compress as it’s more effective. Then, just put a cold or hot pack on the affected area, and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. This should be repeated every couple of hours until the pain relief is noticed.
Note: People who have problems with blood circulation shouldn’t use cold compresses.
As a result of its anti-inflammatory effects, turmeric is also used as a great natural sciatica treatment. It has an active compound, i.e., curcumin, which helps in decreasing nerve pain and inflammation, too.
It is advisable to boil 1 cup of milk along with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, and a small cinnamon stick (if desired). You can also add some honey for a sweeter taste and consume this healthy drink one or two times daily until you notice some improvements.
Or you can take turmeric supplements, for instance 250-300 milligrams 3 times on a daily basis for several weeks. But, you should consult a doctor prior to taking them.
Note: Those who suffer from gallstones and those who take diabetes medication as well as blood thinners shouldn’t use turmeric.
4. Capsaicin cream
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, i.e., an active compound, which is an excellent natural pain reliever since it helps deplete the substance P levels.
You should apply an ointment or cream with 0.025% to 0.075% capsaicin on the affected area more than 4 times daily for 1 week.
Note: As it may initially cause a burning sensation you should not apply capsaicin cream or ointment on a broken skin.
Exercising and regular physical activity is of a great importance when it comes to sciatica treatment. So, consider beginning regular exercise routine in order to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, a day or two after the flare-up of sciatica. Moreover, in this way the recovery process will be speeded up.
Knee to Chest Stretch is a fantastic exercise for reducing the sciatic nerve irritation and improving your lower back’s flexibility.
- Start by lying down on your back on the floor with stretched and hip-width apart legs.
- Next, relax your upper body and bend your knee upwards while breathing in.
- Then, as far as it’s comfortable for you, pull your thigh towards your chest with your hands clasped behind it.
- Keep your leg stay flat on the ground.
- Remain in this position for 20 seconds and control and take deep breaths during this period. Then, just lower your leg carefully.
- Repeat the same procedure with the other leg. Keep in mind – after repeating this three to five times, repeat the exercise with both legs for three to five minutes.
There are also other exercises that can reduce your lower back and sciatica pain, the specific yoga poses, for instance pigeon pose and cat-cow pose. In addition, you can also try spinal decompression exercises.
Note: You should consult your doctor in order to make the appropriate exercise program for you.
6. White willow bark
Long-lasting pain relief can be provided by the bark of white willow as it possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties as a result of the present olic glycosides with salicin. After consulting your doctor you should take 120 mg of white willow supplement or 240 mg of salicin on a daily basis within several weeks.
7. Valerian root
The valerian root alleviates chronic nerve pain, and it’s particularly effective at lowering sciatica pain triggered by a muscle spasm.
It is recommended to take valerian root supplements, 150 milligrams 3 times on a daily basis within a few weeks. Also, consult your doctor before taking these supplements.
There is also another alternative – drink valerian tea. Just boil a cup of hot water, and add 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root. Let it steep for about 10 minutes. You should drink this tea few times a week within a couple of weeks.
Use acupuncture in order to relax your muscles, alleviate sciatica pain, as well as help your body heal on its own. It is believed that when certain acupuncture points are stimulated, the central nervous system is also stimulated resulting in release of chemicals that produce a sense of well-being, or change the pain perception.
9. Spinal manipulation
Are you familiar with the fact that one of the well-known natural treatments for back and neck pain is the chiropractic care? In other words, a variety of techniques involving short and rapid thrusts are included in the chiropractic spinal manipulation that can soothe irritation of the nerve that is responsible for inflammation and other sciatica symptoms.
It is advisable to consult a chiropractor for a proper sciatica pain treatment.
10. Fenugreek seeds
In order to alleviate the sciatica pain, you should prepare a poultice from fenugreek seeds because it provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Hence, it gives a great relief for gout pains and rheumatoid arthritis, too.
Take a handful of fenugreek seeds, grind them and add some milk in it. Next, you should boil the mixture until you get mushy paste. Then, apply the prepared mixture on the affected area as a poultice, and let it stay for a few hours. Finally, wash it off and repeat it every day until you notice relief.
- Avoid making sudden movements.
- Practice techniques for proper lifting where your back will be straight and your knees bent.
- Good posture is useful when it comes to alleviating pressure on the lower back.
- Regular exercise is useful, but don’t engage yourself in intense exercises.
- Use a mattress that is neither too soft nor too firm.
- Avoid smoking as it promotes disc degeneration.
- After consulting your doctor take vitamin C, magnesium and calcium supplements.
- Consider using other herbal remedies, for instance the alcohol-based extract prepared from the parijat or harshiangar leaves; 1,500 to 2,000 mg two times daily of devil’s claw. It should not be used in case you have peptic ulcer. Furthermore, it is recommended to consult your doctor before taking any of these natural remedies to decide for a proper dosage and suitability.