Sciatic nerve pain radiates downward into the left or right buttock, into the leg and sometimes all the way into the foot. In some cases, the pain can be excruciating.
Helpful tips to ease sciatica:
Exercise - Resting too much can aggravate your back and leg symptoms. Instead, incorporate gentle exercise into your day to ease your sciatica. Walking keeps your spine strong without doing any additional damage.
Stretch It Out - Incorporate gentle stretching into your daily routine. Stretching is an excellent way to improve your spinal flexibility and range of motion while also building core and spinal strength.
Ice Pack and Heating Pad - Alternating heat and ice therapy can provide immediate relief of sciatic nerve pain. Ice can help reduce inflammation, while heat encourages blood flow to the painful area (which speeds healing). Heat and ice may also help ease painful muscle spasms that often accompany sciatica. Apply an ice pack to the painful area for 15 minutes once every hour, and then apply heat for 15 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Remember to always use a barrier (like a towel) to protect your skin when using heat or ice, and never sleep while using heat or ice therapy.
Reduce inflammation through nutrition - A diet rich in whole grains, natural foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, such as salmon, and soluble and insoluble fibre can be effective in reducing inflammation. Curcumin (turmeric), ginger, green tea, and black tea are also potent sources of anti-inflammatory substances that help build up immunity and improve overall health.
Avoid inflammation causing foods, such as sugars, refined carbohydrates, trans fats and hydrogenated oils. Avoid smoking which can lower the production of anti-inflammatory molecules and induce inflammation.
Micronutrients help suppress inflammatory mediators and reduce the overall inflammatory processes. Vitamin D, E, zinc, and selenium act as antioxidants in the body. The B group of vitamins such as B12 and B6 help improve nerve health and reduce sciatica and magnesium relaxes the nerve. You can also take curcumin (turmeric) supplements if you don’t consume turmeric as a part of your daily diet or take Fish oil – Omega 3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory.
Restorative Sleep - The quantity and quality of your sleep can directly affect pain and inflammation in your body. When you sleep, several inflammatory substances peak in your bloodstream and stay active throughout the night. When there is poor sleep quality, these inflammatory agents continue to circulate in the body through the day resulting in pain and fatigue.
A full night of deep, restorative sleep can help decrease inflammatory pain and make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.