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A Guide To Relieving Sciatic Nerve Pain - How To Cure Your Sciatica

Updated on January 19, 2015

Sciatica & its Symptoms

Originating in the lower back, sciatica travels through the buttock and down the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body.

Note: Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying condition. E.g. a herniated (slipped) disc.

Symptoms:

  • Increased pain whilst sitting
  • Difficulty walking caused by sharp pains
  • Leg pain is usually more severe than the actual back pain itself
  • Constant pain in one side of buttock or leg (rarely both)
  • Pain relief when lying or walking, but worse when sitting or standing
  • Burning, tingling, sharp or shearing pain in the leg
  • Weakness or numbness when moving leg or foot, pins-and-needles sensation

Exercises for Pain Relief

  • Knee to chest stretch
  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees (hip-width apart) so that your the soles of your feet are flat on the floor. Ideally, lie on a mat or carpet with something under your head.
  2. Bend one knee towards your chest and hold your knee there with both hands. Hold that position for 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat 3 times, switching legs.

  • Mobilising the sciatic nerve and hamstrings
  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees (hip-width apart) so that your the soles of your feet are flat on the floor. Ideally, lie on a mat or carpet with something under your head.
  2. Bend one knee up towards your chest and hold your hamstring (back of your thigh) just below the knee.
  3. Slowly straighten the knee whilst moving your foot towards you.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds and bend the knee, returning to Step 1.
  5. Repeat 3 times, switching legs.

  • Back extensions
  1. Lie on your stomach, holding yourself up on your elbows, stretching your spine out.
  2. Arch your back by pushing down on your hands.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times.

  • Standing hamstring stretch
  1. Whilst standing, raise on leg on a solid object, e.g. a step.
  2. Keep your leg straight and point your toes up.
  3. Lean forward, but keep your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times with each leg.

  • Gluteal stretch
  1. Lie on your back and bend your right leg and rest your left foot on your right thigh.
  2. Take hold of your right thigh and pull towards you. Make sure to keep your hips straight and your tailbone on the ground throughout.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, switching legs.

Medications

  • Over-the-counter painkillers, e.g. acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen.
  • Prescription muscle relaxants for spasms
  • Prescription painkillers for more severe pain

Have you ever suffered with sciatica?

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Surgery

If sciatic pain still exists for at least six weeks despite treatment, you might be referred to a specialist. Surgery may become an option. The hope is then that the surgery will fix what is causing the sciatica (as it's a symptom). E.g. if a herniated / slipped disc is putting pressure on your sciatic nerve, then they know how to cure this.

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