Alleviating Sciatic Nerve Pain

The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower spine down the back of each leg. Because of its importance in movement and sensation in the lower body, sciatic nerve pain can severely limit your functioning and cause considerable discomfort.

Fortunately, there are several widely accepted methods for alleviating sciatic nerve pain. In the paragraphs below, you will read about the causes of sciatic nerve pain and the common treatments. With knowledge, effort, and help from a professional, it is possible to alleviate sciatic nerve pain.

What is Sciatic Nerve Pain Like?

Pressure on the sciatic nerve causes a shooting pain that can feel like burning or an electric shock. It often radiates down the leg and can go all the way to the toes. In addition to this pain, patients may experience a tingling sensation, numbness in the affected area, muscle weakness, or incontinence.

What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?

Sciatic nerve pain happens when your sciatic nerve becomes irritated or inflamed, often due to pinching or compression. It can have several underlying causes, the most common being:

·       A herniated disc

Also called a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc can cause part of the disc to press against the sciatic nerve.

·       Spinal stenosis

In this condition, the spinal canal narrows, resulting in compression of the spinal cord and the sciatic nerve.

·       Degenerative disk disease

Common in older adults, degenerative disc disease happens when the discs between the vertebrae start to wear away and lose their cushioning ability.

·       Spondylolisthesis

This condition happens when one vertebra slips out of place and comes to rest on the vertebra below it, which can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

·       Piriformis syndrome

In this condition, the piriformis muscle, located in the hip/buttock area, tightens and spasms, which can irritate the nearby sciatic nerve.

·       Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in the joints to break down. In the spine, this can lead to conditions such as bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and disc degeneration, all of which can cause the sciatic nerve to be pinched or squeezed.

·       Trauma or injury

A fall, accident, or other direct impact on the spine or buttocks can injure the sciatic nerve itself or the structures adjacent to it.

Can Sciatic Nerve Pain Be Prevented?

Proactive measures are the best way to avoid the disabling effects of sciatic nerve pain. If you have already had an incident, you can minimize the chances of further episodes by doing the following:

·       Maintain good posture: Paying attention to your posture when sitting, standing, and lifting heavy objects can strengthen the muscles that support the spine and reduce strain on the back.

·       Engage in regular physical activity: Exercises that strengthen the core and increase flexibility will give your spine the support it needs and make it easier for you to withstand and recover from injuries.

·       Lift with your legs: This old adage turns out to be true: when you lift heavy objects, bend at the knees and hips, and use your leg muscles instead of your back to power the lifting motion.

·       Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts added pressure on the joints in your lower body, including the lower part of your spine. Keeping your weight within a reasonable range also helps you to be more active, leading to additional spine-protective benefits.

·       Manage stress: chronic stress can lead to excess tension in your muscles, including the muscles that support the spine. Learning relaxation techniques can be enormously helpful not only for your spine health but for your mental health.

·       Take breaks from sitting: If you sit in a chair all day for work, get up to stretch regularly. Consider a standing desk or one that is height-adjustable. Use a small stool under your feet to keep your spine in a healthy position. When standing for long periods, place one foot on a small box; this will help take pressure off your spine.

What Are the Treatments for Sciatic Nerve Pain?

Mild sciatica usually resolves by itself over time. Rest, and apply cold packs to the area, alternating with heat if it reduces your discomfort. If the pain persists or gets worse, there are a variety of treatment options:

·       Medications, either over-the-counter or prescription, can help reduce inflammation and pain. Typical medications used for sciatic nerve pain are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen, muscle relaxants, and pain relievers.

·       Physical therapy can improve flexibility and help you strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Physical therapists are skilled at identifying the correct exercises and stretches to relieve sciatic nerve pain.

·       Steroid injections are sometimes given directly to the area where the pain originates. Injections can be given up to three times a year.

·       Surgery may be used for cases that have not responded to other treatments. Surgical options include removing part of a herniated disc and fusing two vertebrae together.

·       TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) delivers low-level electrical impulses over the affected area using electrodes placed on the skin. By disrupting the pain signals coming from the lower spine, this technique can help relieve sciatic nerve pain.

·       Acupuncture can help by relieving pain, enhancing muscle relaxation, and improving blood flow to the area, which aids in healing.

·       Massage therapy can be helpful by promoting relaxation and making movement easier.

·       Spinal decompression therapy is performed using a computerized traction system to gently stretch specific areas of the spine.  

·       Chiropractic adjustments and spinal manipulation can improve spinal alignment and reduce spinal compression, alleviating spinal nerve pain.


Sciatic nerve pain ranges in severity from mild to severe, but even at the same pain level, no two patients are affected in the same way. Therefore, a treatment that works for one person may not be the ideal treatment for another one.

At Chiro-Med Rehab Centre, we see each patient’s concerns and condition as unique. We take a holistic approach to treatment, considering each patient’s lifestyle, activity level, and needs. We offer a range of treatments that can help relieve sciatic nerve pain, including:

·       Chiropractic care

·       Spinal decompression therapy

·       Acupuncture

·       TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

Our experienced team of professionals is trained in all the most effective, up-to-date techniques in rehabilitation and pain relief. We are dedicated to getting our patients moving comfortably again and doing all the things they enjoy. Contact us today to discover how we can help you relieve sciatic n and live a full life again.


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