Sciatic nerve pain is a term that refers to the numbness that results when the sciatic nerve is disturbed or irritated. While the pain tends to affect a single part of the body, it has severe implications that interfere with one’s daily routines.
The pain typically radiates from the lower part of the back to the thigh and often extends to the leg. Other symptoms that manifest include an excruciating pain that makes it hard to sit or stand, weakness in the leg as well as a tingling sensation.
Sciatic nerve pain is caused by a slipped disc, one which usually results from an infection of the spinal cord, complications during pregnancy as well as the gradual degeneration of the discs. Pharmaceutical intervention is possible, and while this provides relief for the affected person, it helps to look for natural remedies that help reduce the pain in the region around the nerve. In the long run, this also helps to ease the pressure off the nerve so that the condition eases after a couple of months. With each of the remedies below, your choice remedy ought to be accompanied by adequate rest for efficiency purposes.
1. Choose a Hot or Cold Pack to Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain at Home:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Hot pack or cold pack.
Each of the packs plays a key role in the management of pain that results from the irritation of the sciatic nerve. The hot pack allows the muscles around the affected region to relax, thus eliminating the tension that compresses the nerve. This eases the pain.
The cold pack on the other hand, is very effective in numbing the pain so that its intensity is significantly reduced. The latter also has the advantage of decreasing the rate of swelling, making the condition more bearable. You may use either pack, but some prefer to use the two alternately, in which case, you are advised to use the hot pack first followed by the cold pack.
Note that the cold pack is not suitable for persons with diseases that affect the circulatory system.
- Whichever pack you use, place it on the part of the body that experiences pain and leave on for about 20 minutes.
- If you opt to alternate the packs, start by placing the hot pack on the skin for 15 minutes, and then follow this through with the use of the cold pack.
- Use this remedy every couple of hours until the pain eases.
2. Massage Therapy:
Time Required: 30 Min per session.
What You Need: St. John’s Wort oil. Alternatively, use Nutmeg powder, sesame oil and a warm bath.
Massage therapy works pretty well in the natural treatment of sciatic nerve pain. This is because it not only eases muscular tension in the affected area, the addition of oil in this remedy helps eliminate the pain. St. John’s Wort oil is used because it is laden with anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the inflammation. Another alternative is to use nutmeg and sesame oil, both of which relieve the pain and ease the process of massage therapy.
As a general guide, you may consider targeting the massage therapy to specific trigger points. These points refer to places where the pain seems to radiate from. For those suffering from sciatic nerve pain, some of the recommended massage points include the lower region of the back, the rear and side parts of the thigh as well as in the buttock region. Other benefits of massage therapy include improved blood circulation as well as improve one’s mobility.
- Use a generous amount of St. John’s wort oil to massage the area below the back as well as the aforementioned trigger points. Do this for about half an hour and repeat thrice daily.
- In place of St. John’s wort oil, you may also use a mixture of nutmeg powder and sesame oil.
- Take 5 teaspoons of the powder and place in a cup before pouring in the sesame oil.
- Warm the mixture in a water bath for 10 minutes and then place aside.
- Once cooled down to a temperature that is comfortable on the skin, massage the lower back using the oil mixture.
- Repeat this at least twice daily for a couple of weeks.
3. Jamaican Dogwood:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Jamaican Dogwood supplements (available in capsule form).
These supplements are synthesized from the bark of the dogwood tree, and are effective in the natural treatment of sciatic nerve pain. The supplements are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds which, when ingested, help ease the pain and inflammation that results from the pinched nerve. Follow the advice given by your doctor as far as the dosage is concerned. Note, however, that this remedy is not suitable for women whose sciatic nerve pain is a result of pregnancy as well as for lactating mothers.
- Take the Jamaican dogwood supplements following the provided medical advice.
4. Fenugreek Seeds:
Time Required: 20 Min prep, 2 Hrs of application .
What You Need: A handful of fenugreek seeds, a grinder, water in a pan, some fresh milk and warm water to rinse.
Fenugreek seeds are a versatile option in the treatment of various body conditions. When used to manage sciatic nerve pain, the seeds are soaked to prepare a paste for topical application. The application of the paste relieves pain and provides relief from the inflammation, thanks to the presence of anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, so effective are the seeds that they are known to aid in the natural treatment of different forms of arthritis. Sprinkle fenugreek seeds to your daily fruit intake if you would like to tap the seeds’ nutritional value.
NOTE: You may need to use this remedy at a time when you are settled to allow its healing effects set it.
- Take a handful of the fenugreek seeds and grind to get a coarse powder.
- Place the powder in the pan and add the water, just enough so that it covers the powder.
- Add the milk and mix well before setting the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
- Let the resulting paste cool for a few minutes so that it is tepid to apply.
- Apply the paste on the affected skin and leave on for a couple of hours.
- Rinse the skin using warm water.
- Apply this remedy twice daily until the pain eases and you get relief from sciatic nerve pain.
5. Home Made Capsaicin Cream:
Time Required: 40-60 Min
What You Need: 3 Tablespoons of cayenne powder, 1 cup of oil (choose from olive, jojoba or almond), a double boiler, 1/2 cup grated beeswax, a whisker and lidded glass jar. You need to refrigerate this preparation prior to application. Alternatively, use store-bought capsaicin cream.
Hot Cayenne pepper is best known for its fiery zesty taste when used as a condiment in food preparation. It, however, is packed with healing properties thanks to the high concentration of capsaicin. Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory and when used for the home treatment of sciatic nerve pain, it plays a key role in mediating the relief and making the condition more bearable. This works because the capsaicin inhibits the action of a nerve compound known as substance P which is known to facilitate for the transmission of pain signals.
The best news, perhaps, is the fact that the hotter the pepper is, the more potent the healing properties. Research also indicates that regular use of the remedy makes its effects more profound. Listed below are the steps you are required to follow to prepare your own capsaicin cream. If, however, this is not possible, you need to get capsaicin cream from the nearest chemist. For the latter, look out for a skin cream that contains anywhere between 0.025% to 0.075% of the active ingredient.
- Add the cayenne powder to a cup of your choice oil.
- Use a double boiler to heat the mixture for 10 minutes. This is preferred to boiling directly as the latter causes a destruction of capsaicin’s structural makeup.
- Midway, add the beeswax and mix well to allow the wax to melt and integrate with the rest of the ingredients.
- Once all the ingredients have melted and blended completely, turn off the heat.
- Set the mixture aside in a refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- This allows the resultant cream to set.
- Whisk the cream after 10 minutes and chill for another 15 minutes.
- Whisk once more and transfer to a glass jar with a lid.
- Scoop some of the capsaicin cream you have just made and use to massage on the lower back.
- Use the remedy thrice daily for best results.
- Refrigerate the rest. This cream keeps well for about 10 days, so it helps to indicate the date of preparation.
- Use step 9 for the use of the chemist-bought capsaicin cream.
Time Required: Varies depending on the selected routine.
What You Need: Appropriate gear for your choice exercise routine. This particular exercise is the knee-chest routine, for which you will need a comfortable exercise mat.
Exercises are recommended for the management of sciatic nerve pain for the simple reason that they help strengthen the back muscles. This comes in handy as it effectively reduces the compression on the nerve, thus reducing the pain associated with the condition. Whenever you can, incorporate exercises that target the core region as this facilitates for faster recovery. You may choose from a wide variety of exercises.
The steps below outline what you need to do for the knee to chest stretch routine, an exercise that targets both the core and the backbone. Other exercises that you can look out for include spinal rolling, floor twists and stretches that help relieve pressure off the sciatic nerve. You may want to consult with your physical trainer and doctor in this regard.
- Lie face upwards on your mat, and part your legs to match the approximate width of your hips.
- Ensure that your upper body is relaxed and then fold your right knee upwards.
- Take a deep breath as you do this.
- Grasp your hands at the back of your thigh and draw it towards your chest as far as it does not cause discomfort.
- All this time, ensure that your leg maintains a flat position.
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds while ensuring that your breathing is controlled.
- Carefully lower your leg so that both legs are flat.
- Repeat this exercise, this time making sure that you lift you left knee upwards.
- Do this alternately at least 3 times daily.
7. Turmeric Milk:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 cup of fresh milk, a dash of cinnamon powder (optional) and honey (natural sweetener). Alternatively, use turmeric supplements.
Turmeric, just like the herbal remedies mentioned above, is used in the natural treatment of sciatic nerve pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. The herb’s active ingredient is known as curcumin, and it is responsible for the mediation of pain relief. You may prepare the milk, but in the absence of the powder, feel free to take the recommended dosage of turmeric supplements.
Important note: This remedy is not recommended for people suffering from diabetes, gallstones and disorders that affect blood functioning as the herb may cause further complications.
- Add the turmeric powder and dash of cinnamon to the milk and stir to mix well.
- Boil the resulting mixture for 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool so that the milk is just hot enough.
- Stir in the honey for natural sweetening and drink this remedy twice daily to manage sciatic nerve pain.
- Alternatively, take the turmeric supplements as recommended.
In addition to the aforementioned remedies, there are other lifestyle changes that you can make to ease sciatic nerve pain. Often, these changes mean looking out for routines that may have been embedded in your habits. These changes include the following:
- Avoid making sudden jerking movements as these predispose you to additional pressure on the nerve, thus causing further pinching.
- Ensure that you sit upright and avoid slumped postures to ease the pressure in your lower back. Additionally, avoid sitting for extended periods of time and ensure you take frequent breaks in between work.
- Take up proper lifting methods. This means squatting to lift things up as opposed to bending with the signature curvature of the back that many are accustomed to.
- Drop the smoking habit as this has been shown to contribute to the likelihood of degenerated spinal disks.
- Get the right mattress to sleep on. This has also been recommended as a positive change in the management of sciatic nerve pain as it helps ease the pain.
- Lastly, a number of yoga poses have also been advanced for the treatment of sciatic nerve pain.