Sciatica is a painful condition felt on the lower back, as a result of a pinched nerve.
It is a common issue, and it leads to unbearable pain and mobility issues. In the most severe cases, sciatica pain may cause numbness in the upper part of the thighs, loss of bladder or bowel control, and progressive weakness of the lower extremities.
Namely, the sciatic nerve is the longest body nerve, as it starts at the lumbar (lower) part of the spinal column, goes through the buttocks, down to the legs.
Therefore, the pain it causes is spread in the entire body, often affecting one side of the body at a time. This pain can be a result of various conditions, and experts often do not recognize them, and cannot determine the origin of the irritation.
Yet, the most common reason for the occurrence of sciatica pain is a pressed sciatic nerve by a herniated disc. The pain may also occur in the case the nerve is irritated or pressed by a bone, tumor, or an adjacent muscle.
However, the cause of the sciatica nerve can be a tight or misaligned muscle.
The reason why doctors often fail to consider the piriformis muscle as a possible cause is the it is woven through bone and other muscles, starting from the sacrum’s front, through the pelvic cavity, attaching at the femur’s top and covering a part of the sciatic nerve.
When it presses the sciatic nerve or other gluteus muscles, it leads to Piriformis syndrome. Yet, a misaligned piriformis may lead to different types of pain in the lower back and legs.
However, if the pain in the back is not a result of a herniated muscle, but this one, it can be healed without a physical therapy, surgery, or drugs.
Yet, this muscle should move as well, so stretching can be of great help as it can release the constriction and tension, soothe the irritation and inflammation, reduce the misalignment, and thus relieve the pain.
The following two stretches can provide amazing results:
1.In a lying position, cross the painful leg over the other one at the knees, and bend both legs. Then, pull the knee up gently towards the shoulder on the same side of the body. When you feel the stretch, hold for 30 seconds, and return to the initial position. Repeat 3 times.
2. In a lying position, keep the legs flat, and pull the painful one towards the chest, while holding the left knee with the left hand, and grasp the ankle with the other one.
You should pull the knee in the direction of the other leg, leading by your ankle, until you feel the light stretch. Then, hold for 30 seconds, release, and return to the starting position. Make 3 repetitions.
Moreover, your sciatica pain may be significantly relieved by the use of some effective non-invasive treatments, such as:
1. Cold and hot compresses can provide great pain relief and may soothe the inflammation. Apply them alternately, apply an ice pack on the painful spot, then, substitute it with a heating pad, and again apply an ice pack. In this way, you will improve the blood flow and relax the tight muscles.
2. The pain may also be relieved by the topical application of St. John’s Wort. Massage the painful area with an oil infusion and you will experience a major improvement.
3. The trigger-point therapy has been introduced by professional massage therapists, who use it to eliminate the constriction of the muscle. Even though the procedure of reaching the piriformis may cause discomfort, it provides excellent results.
If you combine a massage therapy with stretching exercises, you will definitely reduce the pain and the pressure applied on it, as you will bring it back in its place.
Moreover, you can also try yoga, acupuncture, or chiropractic care. A combined approach may even result in a long-term effect.
Yet, note that you mustn’t make rough or sudden movements in the case of a compression of the sciatic nerve, as you can cause unbearable pain, but gently press it instead.
4. The plant Devil’s Claw is an efficient anti-inflammatory pain-killer, and its roots and tubers are used in the cases of arthritis, headaches, and pain in the lower back.
It originates from southern Africa, and it is covered with tiny hooks, due to which it has got the name. You can find it in the form of capsules and powder, in almost all natural food stores.
Yet, note that it should not be used in the case of peptic ulcers or a therapy which includes blood-thinning pharmaceuticals.