The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body, originating at the spine's base and running along the back of the legs into the feet. The nerve provides functions to the lower limbs making walking, running, and standing possible. The experience of sciatic nerve pain can be debilitating. The symptoms range from pain, numbness, weakness, and altered sensations like hot or cold down the legs. In some cases, both legs can be affected.
Ways to relieve sciatica pain:
- Apply low-level heat - Heat therapy can help alleviate pain in your lower back and legs caused by sciatica.
- Stretch and strengthen - Sciatic exercises include techniques that help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve root while building strength in the lower spine, abdomen, and legs. Exercising helps promote the healing of soft tissue while improving the nervous system functions. This may help reduce the amount of sensitivity and pain experienced. Building muscle in the lower back can help alleviate sciatica pain.
- Medication - Applying topical creams and gels can penetrate your tissues and act locally to reduce pain and discomfort. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen may help ease your pain as well as bring down inflammation.
- Alternative Therapies - Massage therapy, physical therapy, and acupuncture can help alleviate sciatica pain by loosening tight muscles, decreasing muscle spasms, building strength, and correcting posture.
- Steroid Injections - Your doctor might recommend an injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root. This may suppress inflammation while reducing your pain.
Sciatica pain is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. It is not a medical diagnosis. The most common medical conditions that cause sciatica pain is disc herniations of the lower lumbar, spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The majority of people who experience sciatica pain typically recover within 4 to 6 weeks with nonsurgical treatments. When there is severe nerve compression with symptoms progressing, surgery may be recommended.
Dr. Payam Moazzaz is a spine surgeon who applies a decade's worth of accumulated experience as an orthopedic physician and surgeon to diagnose and treat a wide variety of complex spinal disorders. If you have been suffering from sciatica pain, contact Dr. Moazzaz for an in-depth evaluation at 760 904 5444 or visit