Aging sometimes comes with experiences of some sharp, radiating pain that begins in the sciatic nerve from the lower back and travels down the hips, buttocks, and legs– this is a medical condition called Sciatica. Typical sources of sciatica include other conditions such as herniated discs, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and diabetes. Body weight and occupations that are physically demanding are risk factors. It may begin as a result of strenuous activities like heavy lifting, though gradual onset may also occur. The pain is often only on one side of the body, and it may extend to the other. There may be weakness or numbness in the affected leg and foot. Pain medications are initially used to treat it. Resolution of this condition often takes time often less than six weeks, but surgery may be required if complications occur, such as loss of normal functioning of the bowel or bladder.
Statistics show that less than 1% to 40% of people have sciatica at some point in time usually common in age 40s and 50s, and affects more men than women. It often interferes with a person's work and personal life. Fortunately, many home remedies exist to help relieve back pain. The back muscles and spine support the body's weight, and these muscles are used for everyday movements, including sitting, standing, and walking.
For those who wish to try home remedies, some of the following treatments might help:
Exercise helps to loosen tense muscles and causes the release of the brain's natural painkillers, which are the endorphins. People experiencing sciatica can begin a daily exercise program, such as strength training and stretching which help keep muscles flexible and strong. These have been shown to help prevent future episodes of back pain that are due to tight muscles. Medium exercises like a short walk, yoga, water exercise, or low-impact activities can often help alleviate back pain.
The choice of the right mattress to help relieve this condition cannot be overemphasized.
These mattresses should have firmness which can be adjusted based on preferences from night to night. It, therefore, should not worsen any existing aches and pains. Choosing the right mattress involves considering the sleeper's body, the material the bed is made up of so that it improves the spinal alignment, alleviates pressure points, and help cause an increase in blood flow for people with poor circulation. Some other qualities a good mattress should have include: support which refers to a bed’s ability to maintain an even, level surface so that sleepers can align their shoulders, spine, and hips; and reduce pressure points throughout the body. Another important consideration in the choice of mattress is thickness as a thickness of 10 inches and above tend to provide better support. The mattress should be durable and not degrade quickly nor sag and form indentations in the sleep surface which could lead to aches and pains.
Sleeping positions matter in handling sciatica. Good sleeping positions to help relieve it include elevation of the knees. Sciatica increases when compression or irritation of one of the five sciatic nerve roots in the lower back occurs. To minimize the pressure that the lumbar discs places on the nerve roots, sleeping with the knees elevated may be recommended to alleviate the symptoms. Another sleeping position is to lie flat on the back, keep the buttocks and the heels in contact with the bed and then ensure to slightly bend the knees towards the ceiling. Providing support for the knee can be done by keeping it in a comfortable knee position such as sliding a pillow between the bed and the knees for support. One can experiment more and find the position that minimizes the sciatic pain and allows one to sleep through the night.
NSAIDs are medications that help ease pain and bring down inflammation. If the home remedies aren't helping, consulting a doctor would be necessary. Muscle relaxers and higher-strength NSAIDs are prescription medicines that can help make sciatic patients feel better. Some studies have shown that people can benefit from anti-seizure drugs in treating sciatica. If the pain is over six months epidural injection may be required which is a shot of steroid medication into the spine. Studies show mixed results, though, about how well it works.