3 great ways to treat your sciatica

As every step you take sends searing pain shooting down your legs, you realize you’re having a sciatica flare-up. If you suffer from chronic low back pain, you’ve probably experienced some sort of sciatic nerve aggravation. The pain can be almost crippling.

Sciatica is typically a symptom of chronic back pain and is known to cause leg cramps and discomfort. Your sciatica pain may worsen when sitting. You may also notice some additional pain when you cough or sneeze. Symptoms of sciatica occur when the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, is impinged. It can be symptom of a more serious back condition such as:

• Bulging/herniated disc
• Spondylolisthesis
• Spinal stenosis

If you think your spinal condition is causing sciatica, consult your physician. He or she will be able to diagnose you with the help of an X-ray, MRI or myelogram. Most back conditions go away after several months with conservative treatment. You can ease the symptoms of your sciatica pain with these tips and treatments:

Medication. If you’re looking to take the edge off your pain, many physicians will suggest that you try some over-the-counter medications such as naproxen and ibuprofen. These medications will help relieve inflammation and decrease the pain. They will also help increase your mobility and flexibility.

Hot/cold therapy. For the first couple days of your sciatica flare-up, place an ice pack on the affected area for 20 minutes. You can ice your back in 20-minute increments as many times as needed per day. If the pain continues for more than two days, switch to heat.

Physical therapy. If your back pain persists, your physician may recommend physical therapy. Your physical therapist will be able to help you find the best exercises to relieve your pain. Although it is sometimes painful to move because of sciatica symptoms, inactivity is more harmful in the long run. Staying active is the key to a healthy recovery.

You can help prevent low back pain and sciatica through exercise and healthy eating. Exercises that strengthen your core muscles will help support your spine and prevent potential back discomfort.

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