The sciatic nerve goes all the way from behind the pelvis and down the legs to the feet. No other nerve matches its length. It is also one of the best-known nerves to the general public because of the association with sciatica pain. Pressure on this nerve causes this pain in the legs and posterior. In the most extreme cases, pain could continue for more than a year without effective treatment. The most common cause is a slipped disc, but sometimes sciatica is caused by infection. Standard medical treatments often involve painkillers, but these may have undesirable side effects. So what are the natural alternatives?
A visit to an acupuncture clinic
At one time western doctors tended to dismiss the Chinese practice of acupuncture as some quack medicine, but today they have come to accept its value. The treatment of sciatica is one of the main areas where academic studies show that acupuncture can help. No doubt some potential patients might be put off by the thought of the acupuncturist putting needles into their body, but the procedure looks more much painful than it is in fact. Many find it helps reduce inflammation and improve lumbar circulation in a way that helps sciatica heal that much sooner.
A visit to a chiropractor
The chiropractor tries to heal sciatica by manipulating the spine with their hands. Also, he or she often suggests a series of exercises, changes in diet and other lifestyle adjustments they believe will help the patient’s healing process and prevent the complaint recurring. For many years regular medical doctors were dismissive of the possible value of chiropractic medicine, but more recently they have become open to its value. Even the UK’s leading National Health Service now offer patients limited chiropractic services within the state medical scheme.
Traditional massage techniques
Massages often help to relieve sciatica pains although the relief may only be short-term until the causes of the problem are effectively treated. Even a family member or friends can help with a massage, but for the full benefits, there is no substitute for a visit to a professional physiotherapist or osteopath. The expert knows how to deliver a message in a way that reduces muscle tensions and improves blood flow. Another advantage of such treatments is that they may enable the patient to manage without painkillers or lessen the need for them.
Fenugreek seed painkillers
Common concerns about the side-effects of prescription painkillers lead health-conscious individuals to explore natural alternatives. Fenugreek is one of the spices often used in traditional Middle Eastern cookery. Researchers have found out it reduces bad cholesterol and also offers a powerful pain reliever. For relief from sciatic pains mix a handful of fenugreek seeds with milk until a paste forms. Use this paste as a poultice to apply to the painful body area. After a few hours wash it off and repeat the procedure until the pain lessens.
Someone with sciatica pains is unlikely to feel as though they want to do any exercises. It is easy to understand why they think resting is better but actually, exercise can have a major role in the healing process. Light exercises are sufficient to make a vital difference. For example, lie down on a mat and take it easy for a minute. Next, start bending your knees towards your chest and breathe in deeply. Swimming and walking are additional useful exercise ideas. Doctors and physiotherapists can advise on the best exercises to do in this condition.
No hard workouts
While the value of regular exercise in sciatica treatments is beyond dispute, the point needs to be made that vigorous exercise can have the opposite effect. A sciatica sufferer who regularly went for workouts in the gym needs to take a break until this condition heals. In contrast to the recommended light exercises use of gym equipment could easily cause damage that delays healing.
Back to the spice cabinet
Turmeric is another herb worth using in sciatica remedies. This popular cooking ingredient contains a substance that helps reduce inflammation. This makes it ideal for sciatica treatments, but diabetics or others on medications must first check with their doctors if it is appropriate for them to use turmeric. Once the OK is given try mixing a teaspoon full of turmeric in a cup of milk and drink this once a day.
Use a compress
Compresses have been used for many hundreds of years to treat a range of complaints and sciatica pains are no exception. To make a compress could not be easier. For example, to create a cold compress place some ice into a clean cloth and apply it to the painful area. For some people, cold compresses are most effective, but others find hot compresses are better – it is a matter of individual preference. As a rule, compresses are perfectly safe, but anyone with a blood circulation issue must check with their doctor before they apply a cold compress.
Change seating arrangements
Without a doubt, the way people sit and the length of time they spend seated aggravates sciatica pains. As well as exercising it is important to avoid sitting for long periods. Also, pay attention to the kind of chair used. Find a chair that offers good and firm support. The same applies to sleep arrangements. A soft mattress is bad for sciatica sufferers. Some suggest that lying down on a wooden board helps relieve symptoms.
Only the most ardent health enthusiasts are likely to keep a stock of the valerian root herb in their spices cupboard, but it should be easy enough to get some from a natural health shop. Its properties help relieve pressure on muscles as well as making it easier to sleep. The oils made from this root are sometimes taken in tea or as a supplement. Anyone with additional medical issues should first consult with their doctor.