Sciatica, as we already mentioned, is a group of symptoms caused by pressure on the spinal cord, leading to strong and sharp pains in the lumbar curve of the spine, radiating into the lower limbs. The pain which accompanies sciatica may occur in powerful attacks, therefore making it impossible for the sufferer to move in any way, and totally limiting the ease of daily life. Each movement causes radiant pain, meaning it is difficult to either sit or walk, along with the completion of everyday chores. The reoccurrence frequency and length of the affliction are very different and highly dependent on both the cause, and whether the sufferer took care of their physical wellbeing by applying remedial measures.

When a sciatica attack hits, the patient should visit the doctor, orthopaedist, or neurologist. Depending on the intensity of the symptoms, and whether the patient suffered from the same symptoms before, the specialist will order a group of tests (X-Ray, CAT Scan) to be performed, or start treatment. If the tests do not show any degeneration or other symptoms requiring radical treatment, sciatica pain afflictions are treated conservatively. Below you will find 6 remedies for sciatica

1) Rest

During the first, most painful phase of sciatica, conservative treatment is based mostly on resting, which allows the patient to unburden a strained back/spine. Undisputably the patient can not sit upright, especially for long periods in front of the computer (even if it is a typical resting position for the patient). Patients can sit upright only during meals or when required due to physical needs. This is a one of the most simple remedies for sciatica.

2) Relief position

In the moment of sciatica attack, usually the first way to lessen the pain is to lie down. This is done instinctively by the patient. Of course, in each situation the relief position may be different. However, it is recommended to lie down on a hard surface, and bend your knee and hip joints at right angles (unburdening positioning). It is good to put a big roller under your knees. Besides this, it is natural to limit all physical activity as it causes pain to intensify.

3) Hot and cold compresses

Among the remedies for sciatica pain, another option are hot and cold compresses. In the first phase cold compresses are applied- cold or frozen cloths can be used, or ice wrapped in a towel/cloth. It is worth having gel compresses at home, kept at all times in the freezer in case of a sudden attack. Cold compresses help to ease the pain because they shrink blood vessels and reduce swelling. On the other hand, warm compresses relax and unclench tightened muscles. In order to warm up the affected area, we can use a cloth soaked in hot water, hot water bottle, electrical pillow/blanket, or a warming massage using warming cream. The patient needs to remember that warm compresses can be applied only after the sharp period of suffering has ended, or been reduced. Warming the affected areas increases tissue blood supply which causes better oxygenation and increases the number of healing substances found in the body. Cooling, regardless of the technique, has direct painkilling properties, and additionally, reduces inflammation and painful muscle clenches.

4) Painkillers

In order to ease sciatica pain, the patient can also apply non-steroidal anti-inflammation medicine (ibuprofen, naproxen, ketoprofen etc) by injection, pills, and creams and gels, as well as other painkillers (paracetamol, tramadol).

5) Rehabilitation

Therapy is supported by rehabilitation: manual therapy, neuromobilization, McKenzie-Kaltenborn-Evjenth method, and muscle relaxing massages. Good results are also achieved by physical therapy: magnetic therapy, microwave-diathermy, solux lamp irradiation, ultrasounds, cryotherapy, iontophoresis of histamine, galvanization, didynamic currents, or TENS currents. Depending on the needs of the patient, the extent of the therapy is established by the rehabilitant, or therapist.

6) Surgery

The final resort in sciatica treatment is surgery. Qualification for surgery is based on the appearance of the following symptoms: strong and reoccurring pain in lower limbs (despite conservative treatment), reoccurring afflictions of the back which limit daily activity, and neurological symptoms including muscle atrophy and numbness. There are two surgical options available to the patient. The option chosen is determined by the cause of the pressure on the spinal cord, and the number of pressured nerve roots. There are two methods to choose from as surgical remedies for sciatica pain: the traditional approach or minimally invasive approach. The traditional method is based on the removal of slipped discs using pincers (after pulling the nerve roots using hooks). This method also removes all growths causing pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing the spinal canal. The second method, known as microdiscectomy, is performed using a specialist microscope, which allows the removal of the disc through minimal incisions. This method allows the minimization of time spend in hospital, and a speedy recovery. It is important to remember to apply the recommendations of doctors and physiotherapists dutifully – it will help to quickly fight the strongest pain and to prevent reoccurrence in the future. In the majority of sciatica sufferers, the improvement is visible within six weeks of applying simple and conservative remedies for sciatica. Additionally it is crucial to introduce prevention as well. It is important to be reasonable when using painkillers, and not to overuse them. The long-lasting usage of painkillers destroys the mucous membrane of the stomach and liver. Also, it redirects attention from intensification of the symptoms, which can lead to more serious afflictions, and even to surgery.