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If you experience burning or tingling down your leg, lower back pain, weakness, numbness, or shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up you may be suffering from sciatic nerve pain. Discover seven easy treatments to help alleviate your pain. You can also visit our Nerve Pain page to learn more about possible cause and treatments.

1. Home-Exercises that Emphasizes Hamstring Stretches

Check out these simple exercises to help alleviate shooting pains in your lower back. Stretching out the hamstrings can be painful. Make sure to warm up your muscles and stop if you feel any sharp or severe pain.  These exercises do not require weights or equipment. Simply start your day with 10-15 minutes of stretching to ease sciatic nerve pain.

Woman in a yoga pose.

2. Sleeping with a Support Pillow

Sleeping in the same position for 6-8 hours can have a major effect on your spine. If you wake up in the morning feeling intense pain, it's time to change your sleeping position. Sciatica sufferers should sleep with a supportive pillow between their legs to reduce stress on their back. The pillow helps stabilize your pelvis to reduce twisting that increases pain.

A woman with a leg pillow between her legs.

3. Getting a Massage

Tightened muscles around nerves can cause even more pain for sciatica sufferers. A massage can ease sciatic nerve pain by preventing pinching or irritation that can trigger shooting pain across the sciatic nerve.

A masseuse massaging a foot.

4. Alternating Hot and Cold

A common question sciatica sufferers ask is: what is better for sciatica, cold or hot therapy? The answer is both. Alternating hot and cold therapy is ideal for the sciatic nerve. Applying an ice pack for 20 minutes will reduce swelling around the sciatic nerve. Following this with the application of a heat pack can soothe the nerve and relax tight muscles.

hot-and-cold-therapy-for-sciatic-nerve-pain

5. Applying Electrodes from a TENS Device

TENS devices have electrode pads that can be placed directly on the area where sciatic nerve pain originates and deliver a steady current. This electric current blocks pain signals and helps the body produce painkilling endorphins.

TENS pad on a man's calf.

6. Using Back Support

Proper back support can ensure the spine is aligned and prevent aggravation of the sciatic nerve. Poor posture makes sciatic nerve pain more frequent and more painful. Always ensure you have back support and a soft cushion to support your buttocks and lower back when sitting on unsupportive chairs.

Back support for sciatic nerve pain.

7. Physical Therapy

Physical therapists have many techniques/forms of treatment that may help. Treatment may include McKenzie-based mechanical diagnosis and therapy, muscle energy techniques, mobilizations, spinal stabilization and core strengthening exercises, nerve slides/glides, or traction.

A chiropractor working on a man's neck.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you experience shooting pains in your lower back, buttocks, hamstrings, and/or lower legs consult your doctor. These symptoms could be a result of sciatic nerve pain. If you have been previously diagnosed with sciatica try these seven simple treatments for relief.

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Get more information on sciatic nerve pain

Download the Free Sciatica Pain Management Plan for more. Discover more detailed information and educational videos by exploring DR-HO'S Living Pain Free content:

References:

  1. Clough, Sarah (2013). Suffering from Sciatica? Physical Therapy Can Help. Atheltico. Retrieved from http://www.athletico.com/2013/11/05/save-sciatica/
  2. Contour Living (2013). Sleeping with Sciatica, Spinal Stenosis and Herniated Discs. Retrieved from https://www.contourliving.com/blog/sleeping-with-sciatica-spinal-stenosis-and-herniated-discs/
  3. Courseault, Jacques (2015). Hot or cold treatments for sciatica. Livestrong. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/252237-hot-or-cold-treatments-for-sciatica/
  4. Moeller, Andrew (2016). How massage can ease sciatic pain. Spine-Health. Retrieved from http://www.spine-health.com/blog/massage-ease-sciatica-pain
  5. Spine-Health (2016). Treatment Options for Chronic Sciatica and Lower Back Pain. Retrieved from http://www.spine-health.com/ask-a-doctor/sciatica/treatment-options-chronic-sciatica-and-lower-back-pain
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