The last thing you want is another extended bout of sciatica.
Put these 7 tips to use to cut down on and lessen the severity of flare-ups (in order of easiest to do):
1. Take meds (for fast relief).
If you are suffering a sciatica flare-up, you want immediate relief. These meds can help:
- Acetaminophen and NSAIDs: Pain relievers such as Tylenol and Naproxen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds such as ibuprofen and aspirin can provide immediate, short-term relief.
- Muscle relaxers: When the underlying cause of your sciatica is muscle spasms, muscle relaxers such as carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine can provide relief.
- Tricyclic antidepressants: Doctors prescribe the anti-depressants amitriptyline and nortriptyline to reduce nerve pain. They are prescribed at lower doses than when used for depression.
- Steroids: The oral steroid prednisone provides pain relief by reducing inflammation.
*Please note that all of the above medications have certain side effects. Talk to your doctor before taking them to relieve sciatica.
2. Apply heat and cold.
Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the painful area for 15 to 20 minutes can relieve pain quickly by reducing inflammation.
A heat compress or pack can also relieve pain by increasing circulation and loosening up tight muscles.
3. Don’t sit too much.
Putting pressure on your sciatic nerve for extended periods can lead to sciatic pain. Whether sitting at your desk at work, in a car or plane on a trip, or at a restaurant chatting up friends, remember to get up and walk around for a few minutes now and then.
Also, remember to take your wallet and other objects out of your back pockets when you sit down. They add pressure to the sciatic nerve.
4. Improve your posture.
Poor posture can make sciatic pain worse. When standing and sitting, make sure your back is straight, and your shoulders are back. The idea is to feel tall when standing or sitting.
The sciatic nerve runs through your hips, buttocks, and hamstrings. Tight ligaments and muscles in these areas can contribute to sciatic pain.
Stretching these areas keeps the muscles and ligaments loose, which can stop and lessen the pain.
6. Diet and exercise.
Carrying around excess body weight puts added pressure on your sciatic nerve. Dieting can help you shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
A non-active lifestyle with a lot of sitting contributes to sciatica. In contrast, an active lifestyle with a lot of movement lessens or even eliminates the pain.
You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but incorporating some safe exercise, sports, or outdoor activities into your daily routine can make a big difference.
7. Cut down on stress.
When you are stressed out, your brain supplies less oxygen to your nerves, including the sciatic nerve. Oxygen-starved sciatic nerves are more likely to produce pain.
Visit the Texas Pain Management Specialists
At Texas Pain Physicians, our board-certified pain management doctors know how to manage sciatica. Let us review your unique health situation and develop a pain relief plan that works for you.
Schedule an appointment online today, or give us a call at (972) 636-5727.