If you are having symptoms of sciatica, sciatica home treatment can be very effective at relieving your symptoms. Any reasonable plan for relieving the nerve pain of sciatica should include trying to determine what is causing the sciatica, and a manageable exercise program.
"that is causing your symptoms"
When planning your sciatica home treatment you should begin by trying to identify anything you may be doing that is causing your symptoms. Think about where you go, what you do, and how you spend your time.
Then ask yourself:
When does this bother me the most?
What activities make it worse?
What activities make it better?
Have I ever had this before?
What has made it better in the past?
"you may be able to identify some things"
Think about where you spend most of your time. Does sitting make it worse? Look at where you are sitting and what you are sitting on. Is your posture good? Is your chair worn out or lumpy? Could a seat cushion or too thick of a wallet be pushing on your buttock and irritating the sciatic nerve?
After reviewing what you do and where you spend your time, you may be able to identify some things that you need to start avoiding. If your work may be causing a problem if it involves very much bending and lifting, or causes you to spend time in uncomfortable positions. You may need to find ways to modify how you do your work, or begin doing exercises or treatments to relieve the pain caused by your job. Last time you were on vacation, or had a long weekend did your symptoms get better?
"let the chores go for a week"
Around your home, change the places and positions where you spend your time. Do you sit hunched over a desk, or looking at a computer screen that is too low? Do your chores or hobbies require too much bending and lifting? Change things around, take a break from your hobbies, let the chores go for a week, and see if anything makes a difference.
Be creative with your sciatica home treatment plan, get different chairs to sit in, or try lying on the couch, or the floor. If your computer monitor is too low, put a couple of books under it to change the height, or change the height of your chair. Try sleeping in a different bed, or on a different mattress.
"see if anything makes a difference"
This part of the sciatica home treatment plan is like a fishing trip, changing different things to see if anything makes a difference. It might take a few weeks before you notice any changes in your symptoms. But, if you can find something that has an effect, good or bad, that will give you some idea of what to do or not do.
Do simple activities, like walking or standing make your symptoms worse? What about more vigorous activities, such as bicycling or swimming? Aerobic exercise can be very beneficial if it does not aggravate your sciatica symptoms.
"those magic little feel good hormones"
Recumbent bicycling, either stationary or on the street, can be a very enjoyable, back friendly, cardio workout with many benefits.
Aerobic exercises can make you feel good by stimulating the release of endorphins, those magic little feel good hormones, which your brain produces. These natural hormones are similar to morphine, and they are responsible for producing the "runner's high"
"comprehensive sciatica home treatment program"
A consultation with a physical therapist may help identify what exercises you can tolerate and what you should avoid. They can help you design a comprehensive sciatica home treatment program.
A common cause of sciatica is piriformis syndrome, caused by the piriformis muscle placing pressure on the sciatic nerve. When the piriformis muscle becomes short and tight, pressure on the nerve can cause pain in the buttock and thigh. Piriformis stretches can be very useful in treating piriformis syndrome.
"stretches can both be very effective"
Exercises to begin your sciatica home treatment plan should include gentle sciatica stretches. Hamstring stretches and piriformis stretches can both be very effective for sciatica pain.
Supine Hamstring Stretch : Lie on your back on the floor with both legs out straight. Bend one knee and flex your hip so you can grab your thigh. Now, with your knee bent, and while keeping your back straight, gently pull your knee up towards your chest. When your hip is fully flexed, begin slowly straightening your knee. Hold for a count of 10, then repeat with the opposite leg.
Sitting Piriformis Stretch: While sitting in a chair with your back straight, place your left ankle on top of your right knee. Then gently press your left knee down so that your knees are the same height. If your hips are tight it may take a few days before you can accomplish this. When you can get your knees level, while keeping your back straight, slowly lean forward until you begin to feel a stretch deep in your buttock. Hold for a count of 10, then repeat with the opposite leg.
These stretches for the hamstring and piriformis muscle should be repeated three times for each leg. For maximum effect from your sciatica home treatment plan, these sets should be done at least twice per day, three times a day is even better. For more information on stretches see my page on Sciatica Stretches
"gently stretching your lumbar spine"
Other conservative therapies that have provided relief in certain cases are lumbar traction, inversion therapy, and deep tissue massage.
Lumbar traction uses a special belt to pull on your pelvis, gently stretching your lumbar spine. Inversion therapy can accomplish the same thing, when you hang by your ankles. With both of these, it is easy to overdo it, and cause pain in your back.
"Using an inversion table..."
With lumbar traction, begin with a small amount of weight for 15 minutes once per day. Then slowly begin increasing the time and frequency, when you know how much you can tolerate. Lastly, you can begin increasing the weight in small increments.
Using an inversion table, you can adjust the pressure or stretch on the lumbar spine by adjusting the degree of inversion. Begin with about 20 degrees for 5 minutes once per day, to see how you tolerate it. Then, as with traction, increase the time and frequency before increasing pressure by increasing the angle.
If you have a bulging or herniated disc, you might want to try hyperextension exercises. These gentle exercises can often eliminate a bulging disc, or reduce a herniated disc, and they are easy to do.
Hyperextension Exercises : Lie flat on the floor on your stomach, now just relax and take 2 or 3 deep breaths. While keeping your back relaxed, bring your elbows in underneath your shoulders. Just rest there, with your back arched, your hips and legs flat on the floor, your shoulders supported on your elbows, and your forearms flat on the floor.
Depending on your degree of flexibility, this may be enough for you. Hold it for 30-60 seconds and relax for 1-2 minutes, then repeat. Do sets of 10 repetitions, 3 times per day.
If you are more flexible, you may begin straightening your arms, increasing the arch in your back, until you feel a gentle stretch. Again, and this is the important part, hold for 30-60 seconds, rest for 1-2 minutes, then repeat. Do sets of 10, 3 times a day.
"take time to be effective"
These exercises take time to be effective; it is the long slow stretches that get the job done. To help make these stretches and exercises less boring and more bearable, you should find ways to distract yourself. Time will pass more quickly if you can listen to interesting music, meditate, or read.
"you must stick with it"
Sciatica home treatment can be very effective when you do these three things. First you should analyze and adjust your activities to avoid anything that may be causing your nerve pain. Second, you should start a program of moderate exercises and gentle stretching, to improve fitness and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Third, you must stick with it.
Results may not come quickly, so be persistent. Many times a sciatica home treatment program will take several weeks to show results, so hang in there and give it a chance to work. You can do it, I know you can.