In most cases, treatment of the sciatic nerve at home is prescribed by various methods: medication, injections, massage, gymnastics. Prescriptions for traditional medicine can also be used if they are safe and with the approval of the attending physician. Hospitalization and surgery are indicated only for particularly severe forms.
Symptoms and Causes
How to recognize sciatica yourself? Self-diagnosis is not difficult, since the disease often begins with a sudden and very sharp pain in the sacrum and one of the buttocks, the so-called lumbago. Painful sensations quickly spread along the affected side down, grasping the back of the thigh, lower leg. Pathology in most cases is one-sided, but occasionally it can be bilateral.
The pain further becomes constant, aggravated by movement, or appears periodically, with seizures. It is manifested by sharp pulses of varying degrees of intensity, from very strong to quite tolerable, depending on the degree of damage or pinching of the nerve. It is easy to distinguish sciatica from other neuropathies, but it is possible to find out the specific reason for the general symptoms only in the course of a comprehensive examination in a medical institution.
Read also … Is it dangerous to pinch a nerve in the hip joint and how to treat it?
The most common are the following:
- Injuries to the sacral and lumbar areas of the spine, resulting from falling or hitting. These include shifts and vertebral fractures.
- Osteochondrosis of the same parts of the spinal column, leading to dystrophy of the cartilage tissue of intervertebral discs and hernias.
- New growths of different nature (benign or malignant tumors), abscesses.
- Infectious-inflammatory processes that cause organic nerve damage, including herpes infections.
- Hypothermia, as a result of which inflammation develops.
- Incorrectly performed intramuscular injection, during which the sciatic nerve is damaged.
To find out the cause of sciatica, you should contact a surgeon or a neurologist who, after examining and collecting anamnesis, prescribe additional diagnostic procedures (X-rays, ultrasound, laboratory tests).
What to do if the attack happened for the first time? To relieve acute pain, you need to take a position in which the load on the spinal column is minimized. The optimal position is lying on the stomach (can be on the floor) with a small pillow under the head. To reduce the pain, it is recommended to take ibuprofen or another analgesic with anti-inflammatory effect.
It is allowed to use local products with a similar effect – anesthetic ointments, but warming up at this stage is contraindicated. As soon as possible you should seek qualified medical assistance.
If diagnosed with mild to moderate severity and there is no indication for surgery, outpatient treatment is prescribed. It is based on drug therapy, the doctor selects specific drugs and the scheme in accordance with the causes of pathology.
Also effective massage the affected area, performed independently on the recommendations of a doctor. After the disappearance of acute symptoms, a special gymnastics is appointed, and warming up is helpful during attacks (if there are no contraindications).
The listed methods of treatment can be supplemented with recipes of traditional medicine, approved by a specialist.
The first appointed oral drugs from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include Indomethacin, Ketorol, Diclofenac, and other analogues. Regular intake provides relief of inflammation and a pronounced analgesic effect.
Self-treatment with the listed drugs is unacceptable, since there are contraindications, side effects. Shown are external ointments based on the same active ingredients or having a warming effect.
If, during the diagnosis, an inflammatory process caused by viruses or bacteria has been identified, the appropriate drugs are prescribed. Injections when the sciatic nerve is pinched are indicated if a previously prescribed drug therapy does not work. For injections, the same non-narcotic analgesics, NSAIDs (Diclofenac ampoules, for example) are used, which, when administered intramuscularly, are more effective. In the absence of a result, glucocorticosteroids are used – Dexamethasone, Prednisolone.
Since limited movement due to pain leads to muscle spasms and muscle wasting, you should regularly massage your leg on your own. Gentle kneading restores blood circulation and muscle tone, helps reduce inflammation.
During an attack, stroking can reduce pain. In the case of osteochondrosis, a specialist should perform the massage of the lumbar and sacral zones.
If physiotherapeutic procedures are prescribed to warm the affected area (infrared radiation, wax or paraffin applications), at home they can be supplemented by available methods.
Effective daily sedentary baths, warming compresses. Herbal teas, essential oils or salts can be added to hot water, which give additional pain relief.
Since sciatica is a fairly widespread and well-known disease, alternative medicine has accumulated quite a few treatments. The most effective are the following recipes:
- Horse chestnut. The broth is prepared from a liter of water and 2 tbsp. spoons of pre-crushed raw materials 15 minutes in a water bath. After cooling and filtering, 100 ml are taken up to three times a day.
- Calendula. To prepare the infusion will need 2 tbsp. spoons of flowers for 0.5 liters of boiling water. After brewing, insist a couple of hours, strain, divided into 4 doses.
- Burdock The tincture is prepared on Cahors (1 cup), in which a spoonful of crushed plants is added. The mixture should be heated, but not boiled, and then filtered and drunk in two doses per day.
- Lilac. 100 g of flowers (white) week infused in 300 mg of vodka, after filtering is used for daily rubbing.
- As a massage mixture instead of special oils, you can use the composition of honey and alcohol (6: 1). For uniformity in the mixing process it should be slightly warmed.
- From medical additives for sedentary baths, you can use a decoction of pine cones. For three liters of water they need about 1 kg. After boiling for 10 minutes, the mixture is filtered and added to the bath.
- For compresses with anti-inflammatory action, cabbage leaves, previously scalded with boiling water, are recommended. To impose a leaf on a sore point, to fix a bandage for 3 or 4 hours. The warming effect gives a mixture of bread crusts and turpentine, but such a compress is fraught with burns, so you need to use it carefully and not more than 15 minutes.
If you are going to use one of the listed prescriptions or any other, you must definitely inform your doctor about this. Individual contraindications or side effects are likely, therefore, without the permission of a specialist, folk remedies cannot be applied.
Moderate physical activity is a great way to treat and prevent many diseases. In case of pinching and inflammation of the sciatic nerve, a set of special exercises is indicated to restore muscle tone, activate blood circulation, and increase the flexibility of the spinal column. In order not to aggravate the condition and avoid complications, gymnastics can be practiced only after the removal of painful symptoms.
An individual set of exercises should be selected by a specialist, taking into account the severity of the disease and its features. A standard complex usually contains several movements performed from a supine position (tightening the knees to the chest), on the abdomen (lifting the body), as well as sitting and standing. In the latter case, turns and bends of the hulls are performed. A key feature of therapeutic gymnastics is caution and smooth movements. The recommended number of repetitions is respected, and in the event of pain, the activity immediately stops.
If you go to a doctor in a timely manner, sciatica at home can be cured quickly and without consequences. Lack of therapy or uncontrolled treatment leads to muscle atrophy, paresthesias, and impaired motor activity. There are also certain preventive measures that reduce the risk of inflammation or scaling of the sciatic nerve.
These include wearing comfortable (low-heeled) shoes, moderate exercise, healthy food. Physical culture will help keep muscles in shape, ensure the health of the spine, and in combination with a diet – to control weight. Often it is overweight that causes spinal injuries. Those who work while sitting must keep their backs straight and warm up every two hours. During the night rest, the posture “on the side” is considered optimal, since this is how the load on the spine is minimized.