You can treat sciatica at home by relaxing the muscles of your back, buttocks and legs so that the sciatic nerve stops being compressed.
Putting a hot gauze, massaging the affected area and doing some stretching exercises are great options while awaiting for your medical appointment or to complement your physiotherapeutic treatment.
What is Sciatica
Sciatica emerges throughout the sciatic nerve, beginning at the base of the spine, passing to the buttocks and the back of the thigh, going to the soles of your feet. So, sciatica can emerge along any part of the sciatic nerve.
The most common area to feel pain is the buttocks area and although there is only one sciatic nerve, it's normal to feel pain in just one of the legs. Sciatica appears as a severe pain, in the form of a pinch, or the area feeling hot. So if you have these symptoms, it is likely to be an inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
How to treat sciatica
1. Use anti-inflammatory ointments
It is possible to buy ointments like Cataflam or Diclofenac at the pharmacy and apply daily on the affected area, which is probably where the sciatic nerve is being compressed. You can apply the ointment twice a day, with a massage until the product is fully absorbed through the skin.
2. Exercises (stretching)
While experiencing severe pain, the only exercises recommended are stretching exercises for the spine, thighs, and buttocks. And so it is recommended you:
- Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent, hold one leg at a time, pulling your knee closer to your chest, as you feel your lumbar region lengthen. Then do the same with the other leg, even if you have no pain in that leg. Hold this stretching position for about 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
When the pain begins to decrease and to avoid a new crisis of sciatica, it is important that you strengthen your abdominal muscles and therefore Pilates recommended by a physiotherapist are the most indicated. You can start with the following:
- Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and shrink your belly, bringing your belly button to your back, and keep that abdominal contraction while you breathe normally;
- From this position you should raise one leg with your knee bent and hold that position for 5 seconds and then lower your leg. Whenever lifting your leg you should exhale. Then switch legs during the exercise and repeat it 5 times with each leg.
3. Use a hot patches
A good home treatment to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by the sciatic nerve is to place a hot water bottle on the spine or where pain is felt as this relaxes the muscles and increases the release of endorphins that promote well-being.
You can buy a water bottle in pharmacies, but you can make one at home by putting raw rice in a pillowcase, for example. To use just warm the bag in the microwave for about 2 minutes and then place where it hurts for 15 to 20 minutes.
During a sciatica crisis it is also important to take care not to rotate the torso or flex your body forward as if you wanted to get something off the ground. To sleep you should lie on your side with a pillow under your neck and another pillow between your legs, so that the spine is always well aligned. Another possibility is to sleep on your stomach and put a pillow under your knees.