Sciatica is a condition estimated to affect up to four in ten individuals at some point in their lifetimes. Though common, sciatica can be extremely painful for some people and often prevents them from comfortably carrying out their daily activities. Treatment options vary; over-the-counter and prescription medicines are in widespread use, and surgery is also used in severe cases. However, there are natural, non-invasive options for treating sciatica, and many of these can be used at home. Below is how you can find relief for your sciatica without drugs or surgery:
What is sciatica?
To successfully treat sciatica, it is helpful to understand what causes the painful condition. The sciatic nerves are the longest nerves in the human body. Running from the lower back to a point below the knees, the sciatic nerves are responsible for muscle and sensory functions in each leg. Much of the time, the pain and numbness caused by sciatica is due to pinching of the nerve near its root point in the lower back. This pinching can be caused by herniated or "slipped" discs in the spine. In some cases, sciatica can be a result of compression by the piriformis, a large muscle that runs laterally across the buttocks.
How you can treat sciatica
Treating sciatica is fairly straightforward: remove the cause of the pinching or compression, and the irritation to the nerve will cease. One way to accomplish this is by exercising and stretching. Below are a few helpful techniques you can easily do at home or work:
Sitting leg extension - Begin by sitting in a chair or other location, such as the side of your bed, where you can dangle your legs over the edge. Maintain your posture, then slowly raise your legs and extend them straight outward to form a 90-degree angle with your torso. Use your hands placed palm down next to your bottom to keep your balance, then look upward toward the ceiling. Maintain this position for five seconds, then release for ten seconds before extending your legs again for another five seconds. Repeat this process a total of ten times for the best results.
Extended leg stretch - For this exercise, sit on the floor in the same beginning pose as the sitting leg extension. Next, fully extend your legs so the soles of your feet are flat against the wall. Interlace your fingers behind the back of your head, then lean your head forward so your chin touches your chest, if possible. If you can't touch your chest, then lean as far forward as possible to provide maximum extension. Hold the pose for thirty seconds, then relax for ten seconds. Repeat this stretch for a total of three times.
Leg squeezes - Sit on the side of your bed or on the floor for this exercise, and be sure you have room to lay down flat on your back. While sitting, tuck one leg up toward your chest, then wrap your arms around the leg. Pull the leg as close to your chest as possible and hold for ten seconds. Release the hold, then pull your other leg close to your chest and hold it for ten seconds before releasing. Continue alternating legs for about one minute before moving to the next part of this exercise.For the second half of the exercise, lie down flat on your back and pull your legs toward your chest, one at a time, and hold them for ten seconds. Once again, alternate legs for a total of one minute of squeezes.
Another non-invasive treatment option
If your sciatica continues to give you trouble, you should consider visiting a chiropractor for professional treatment. Chiropractors are skilled in their treatment of back and nerve pain, and they can use non-invasive methods to achieve healing in sciatica patients. In fact, spinal manipulation has been shown to provide improvement to the same degree as back surgery in a majority of patients. These remarkable results are without the long recuperation times and potential complications associated with back surgery.
For more information on how chiropractic care can help with your sciatica, talk with a clinic near you, such as Burgman Chiropractic Clinic PC.