Sciatica is one of the most common types of pain, at least 40% of people will experience it in their lifetime. The risk increases with age. If you are experiencing nerve pain in your hip, buttock, or lower back, that came on suddenly, you may be in the middle of a sciatic pain flare-up.
Sciatica is not a disease or disorder, per se. The term ‘sciatica’ describes nerve pain that originates in the sciatic nerve, but it is not the cause of the problem, only a symptom. The longest nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and runs through the buttocks, continuing down both legs to the feet. Inflammation can cause the nerve to fire off pain signals without any apparent injury. Often, however, pain can be the result of a pinched nerve in the hip, compressed vertebrae, or some other form of impingement.
Typically, sciatica will run its course in 4 to 6 weeks, it almost always resolves itself. If it lasts longer or if the pain is severe, you should always consult a doctor as sciatic pain can be the result of a slipped or herniated disc requiring more specialized treatment.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle will increase your risk of sciatica and prolong its duration. Conversely, staying active–or becoming active–can shorten the duration of a flare-up. Living an active lifestyle that keeps your core strong and your muscles limber is the best prevention against recurrent bouts.
There are some safe and effective pain relief exercises for sciatica that can reduce discomfort and speed healing. You can find a few gentle sciatic pain stretches here. But be aware that not all exercise is safe during a sciatic pain flare-up. You can check out sciatica exercises to avoid here.
Applying ice (a bag of frozen peas works well) to the affected area in 20 minute intervals several times a day will help to reduce inflammation, which in turn reduces pain.
Applying gentle heat for 15-20 minute intervals can sometimes bring almost instant relief for short periods of time. However, it is recommended not to use heat for the first day or two of sciatic pain as it may increase inflammation and slow overall recovery.
Ibuprofen and Naproxen are especially good for sciatic pain because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, some topical medicated rubs contain anti-inflammatory drugs that you can apply directly to the site of the pain.
Acupressure massage can be especially helpful in treating a bout of sciatica. Acupressure leverages the body’s same pressure points used by acupuncturists (but without the needles). A massage therapist can relax tense muscles, relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve. By stimulating circulation, acupressure massage can help the body to flush out toxins and reduce inflammation. This reduces the sciatic pain and accelerates healing.
The massage therapists at Easy Cozy Wellness in Abbotsford, BC, have extensive experience in acupressure and sciatic nerve massage. Check out our website or give us a call to book an appointment online for acupressure massage today and let the Easy Cozy Wellness team help you find relief.
Easy Cozy focus on Acupressure (Body) Massage and Reflexology (Foot) Massage which are good for both males and females within any age range.