3 Everyday Treatments for Sciatic Nerve Pain
This year has been anything but typical… a lot of time at home, sitting at our dining room table, and Skyping with fellow coworkers about our goals for the day. And all this sitting is taking its toll because if you’ve ever felt the restless leg syndrome setting in, you’re not alone. Sedentary jobs are growing rapidly and now more than 83% of jobs are riding a desk while less than 20% of jobs require manual labor, according to both the AHA and Johns Hopkins.
Sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, refers to the radiating pain that flows through the sciatic nerve throughout the back, buttocks, and back of the legs. For some, this pain displays itself in different ways. Restless leg syndrome, or the feeling that you just need to get up and move, can be a symptom while others feel twinges of pain or numbness in the buttocks and legs. For those working jobs that require a good amount of sitting, sciatica can become your worst nightmare. Below are some ways to relieve sciatica without any use of OTC’s…
Frog Pose (Mandukasana Pose)
For a good stretch in the hips and inner thighs, try this simple pose. Begin on your hands and knees with your arms directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. You will slowly begin to slide both knees outwards until you feel a stretch in the inner thighs and groin. Stretch your arms out in front of you as you lower your hips to extend your back into a stretch as well. The goal is to stretch this area so that there is little to no muscle tension in the hips that may cause problems with your sciatic nerve. Some are more flexible than others so your focus should be on the sensation of the stretch. If this position becomes painful, you have extended too far and may be more comfortable if you were to raise your hips a bit more off the floor.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
The sciatic nerve stretches from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down each leg. When nerve pain strikes, this tried-and-true hamstring stretch can alleviate some of the built-up tension. It starts in a standing position, with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and bring your torso towards your legs. You should feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings, or the back of your calves, knees, and thighs. If you feel this stretch is painful, you can modify this move by slightly bending your knees, relieving some of the tension.
Sitting Spinal Stretch
Targeting your hips, glutes, and your back, this stretch works to improve the overall mobility and flexibility of your hip muscles. These are located near the buttocks and work to keep your hip joint stable and ready for rotational movements of your legs. Start with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your knee and bring it over the top of your opposite leg. You will use your bent knee to relax your elbow and twist your torso in the opposite direction. You should feel a stretching sensation along your side and hip. Because the sciatic nerve runs alongside the glutes and hamstrings, this pose should help to loosen the tension that can press on the nerve and cause discomfort.
Just like trigger points, acupuncture points, or meridians, lie all over the body and share an interconnected flow. Targeting tension points through acupuncture can loosen blocked Chi to improve the energetic flow that keeps the body in perfect balance. These blockages can be connected to other parts of the body, much like seen in the practice of reflexology. Because some areas are linked to deeper rooted systems, treating a superficial area on the body can improve a muscle group or system deep within the body without invasive therapies.
Acupuncturists will use their knowledge and your feedback to determine which areas should be treated to knock out pains within the body. Specifically, for sciatic nerve pain, acupuncture points lie within the sacral and lumbar regions in the back while some also reside in the feet and legs. The act requires the use of fine needles in the top layer of the skin. Most meridians lie closer to the surface so there is little need to insert the needle farther into the tissue. During the appointment, your practitioner may twist the needles or heat them before use to better suit you and your pain relief needs.
Massage therapy can be as simple as applying direct pressure to a sore knot and can be done anywhere – even at work! There are many forms of massage therapy and can be performed by a professional if you have a specific technique in mind. Otherwise, trigger-point therapy uses the act of direct and sustained pressure on a knotted muscle to cause a soothing release of tension. Below are a few of our favorite tools for at-home – or at work – use for quick and easy pain relief.
Try these powerful tools for the ultimate relaxation –
Vibe 2.0 – A tool that packs a powerful punch. This device can be used alone but in cases of sciatica pain, you may need a partner that can move the tool along your lower back, buttocks, and hamstrings to target the muscle tension causing your discomfort.
Vibe Power Peanut – Perfect for solo vibrational therapy, the Power Peanut can be used by placing the device directly on sore spots all over the body. For sciatic relief, we recommend leaning upon this while laying on a soft area (yoga mat, carpeted area, etc.) to target the lower back and buttocks region.
Wooden Back Roller – Another excellent manual tool, the Wooden Back Roller acts much like the Power Peanut in that it can target areas with direct pressure to reduce muscle tension. In contrast, this tool uses practices closer to trigger-point therapy rather than vibrational and can be used by rolling the tool along the sore areas on the body.
Body Back Buddy Elite- Our new and improved fan favorite! This tool targets trigger points to alleviate pain caused by tension knots in the muscles. Steady pressure for 30-45 seconds can cause a noticeable healing release that can improve mobility for certain muscle groups on the body.
Heitz, David. "6 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief." Edited by Daniel Bubnis, M.S. Healthline, 18 May 2020, www.healthline.com/health/back-pain/sciatic-stretches#_noHeaderPrefixedContent. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.
"How Do You Avoid Stiff Hips at Any Age? Stay in Motion with These Five Hip Stretches." M Health, www.mhealth.com.au/hip-exercises/. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.
"Sciatica." Mayo Clinic, 1 Aug. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435#:~:text=Sciatica%20refers%20to%20pain%20that,one%20side%20of%20your%20body. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.
Thomas, Santhosh A., DO. "Alternative Treatments for Sciatica: Acupuncture, Acupressure, Biofeedback, and Yoga." Spine Universe, 12 Nov. 2019, www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/sciatica/alternative-treatments-sciatica-acupuncture-acupressure-biofeedback-yoga. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.