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Sciatic Pain: My Natural Treatments and Home Remedies

Kymberly has managed many chronic illnesses for 25+ years, including sciatica, costochondritis, fibromyalgia, PTSD, endometriosis, and more.

Sciatica, or pain along the sciatic nerve and in the lower back, can be overwhelming. It can send shooting or burning pain from the lower back, into the hip, and all the way to the feet. It hurts to sit, to walk, and even to lie in bed.

Sciatic pain can be caused by damaged discs, inflamed tissues surrounding the nerve, and a chronically tight piriformis muscle that compresses the nerve. Long-term compression can lead to nerve damage, so it's best to treat this early.

Once you have found the cause of your back pain, you can use the right natural treatments to find pain relief.

Note: I am not a doctor or physical therapist, although I have had chronic sciatica since I was a young teenager. I understand the frustrations when searching for pain relief.

Please see your doctor to identify the actual cause of your pain, and determine which of the following treatments are appropriate for you.

The right hip bone, external surface, showing the greater and lesser sciatic notches, separated by the ischial spine.

The right hip bone, external surface, showing the greater and lesser sciatic notches, separated by the ischial spine.

These are the topics I will cover in this article.

  • What is sciatica?
  • Natural pain relief - relaxation, ice and heat
  • Gentle movement - key to sciatica relief
  • Posture and ergonomics - walk, lift, sit and sleep with a balanced posture
  • Alexander technique - posture correction
  • Piriformis stretches - reduce compression on the sciatic nerve
  • McKenzie exercises - designed to relieve back pain
  • Physiotherapy exercises - stretches and ball work
  • Yoga poses - relieve nerve pain
  • Back strengthening yoga - prevent sciatica from returning
  • Unproven therapies - acupuncture, TENS, traction and herbs
Sciatica can feel like your nerve is on fire

Sciatica can feel like your nerve is on fire

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed due to inflammation or physical damage. It can occur on one side only, or on both sides, and may cause numbness and weakness in addition to muscle and joint pain.

Sciatica can have a number of causes:

  • bulging or herniated disc
  • narrowing of the spinal column
  • inflammation of the soft tissues in the surrounding areas
  • short or spasming piriformis muscle in the buttock (piriformis syndrome)

Over 80% of people in industrialized countries will have lower back pain during their life. This is one of the greatest causes of employees being unable to work. Most acute sciatic pain cases recover within 6 weeks, however a small number develop chronic sciatica.1

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A standard western medical treatment for back pain is paracetamol or low-dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. However, they highly recommend that you keep moving, gently: no bed rest.

Medications commonly prescribed for sciatica work to calm the pain and inflammation in the short term, but they don't stop it from recurring.

Many natural and physical therapies, and simple lifestyle changes, can provide pain relief and prevent it from returning.

  • A healthy diet improves your body's ability to heal. Use citrus fruits and juices, such as lime juice - vitamin C boosts your immune system, prevents serious illnesses, and reduces the swelling around the nerve.
  • Proper posture, healthy weight, ergonomic working environments and an active lifestyle all play important roles in treating and preventing pain.
  • Physiotherapy exercises may help recover and maintain range of movement in the spine and hips, and prevent the pain from recurring.
  • Relaxation techniques help you manage and reduce the psychological impact of chronic pain.

Relaxing the Muscles Around the Irritated Nerve

Rest at regular intervals, in postures chosen to relieve pain. Intentionally relax all the muscles in your body in these positions:

  1. Lay on your stomach with a pillow or rolled towel underneath your hips.
  2. Lay on your stomach with one leg bent and out to one side - the first aid recovery pose. Put a pillow under the knee to remove any strain on your back.
  3. My favorite: Lay on your back with a pillow under your head. Rest your feet on a chair so that your knees are bent and your lower back is flat against the floor.

Heat, Ice, and Massage

  • Ice: If you have acute pain after an injury, apply ice to the lower back for 10 minutes every few hours. Ice reduces inflammation and provides temporary pain relief in the first few days after your injury.
  • Heat: If you have longer-term pain, apply heat to the lower back and hips to encourage circulation and tissue repair, relax the surrounding muscles and reduce pain. A hot bath or shower relaxes the muscles and calms the nerve.
  • Menthol-and capsaicin-based sports rubs or plasters may provide short term relief of chronic back pain.
  • Massage and spinal manipulation may provide some short term relief, but should only be performed on sciatica patients by qualified and experienced practitioners.
Massage cushion, home-made tennis ball massage device, heat pack, menthol rubs, relaxing essential oils and bath salts with wintergreen - to combat sciatica.

Massage cushion, home-made tennis ball massage device, heat pack, menthol rubs, relaxing essential oils and bath salts with wintergreen - to combat sciatica.

  • Staying active has been shown time and time again, to have better results than bed rest for back pain.1,2,3 Staying in one position or doing one activity for a long time makes back pain worse. Take regular breaks and move around.
  • Walking gently with good posture can provide pain relief from acute back pain. When my sciatic flares: I stop, gently stretch my hamstrings, do some gentle standing twists, forward bends, and lightly massage the sore areas. I can then keep walking carefully until I get home to my trusty heat pack.
  • Correct posture and ergonomics: Use a balanced posture in all activities to prevent pain.
  • Walking and standing: Use smooth, gentle and relaxed movements - tense muscles increase the pain. Stand tall, and make sure your lower back is not curved. Keep your buttocks tucked in.
  • Carrying: Never carry a bag on one shoulder, or all the shopping bags in one hand. Distribute weight evenly on both shoulders, and in both hands. Use backpacks, not shoulder bags. My doctor and physiotherapist believe that my heavy, single-shoulder school bag was a trigger for the sciatica starting in my teens. I wish my school had allowed backpacks!
  • Lifting, reaching, bending, and twisting: Avoid heavy lifting if possible. If you must lift something, don't bend over or twist your back. Use your knees to lift and your feet to turn. Avoid twisting when reaching for something above your head or below your waist. Try not to pick up children. Kneel down if you need to reach something low.
  • Sitting: Use a chair which supports your lower back. Position your knees at the same level as your hips, with your feet flat on the ground. A lower back pillow, or rolled towel will support your lower back. Use the arms of the chair to help you sit or stand.
  • Note: Constantly sitting tightens the piriformis muscle. Get up and stretch regularly. I prefer to sit with my feet up, sometimes with a towel or pillow under my knees.
  • Driving: Avoid driving when the pain is severe. Use a pillow or lumbar roll to support the lower back and maintain a correct sitting posture.
  • Sleeping: A firm mattress with one supportive pillow under your head encourages good sleeping posture. An extra, soft pillow between the knees may provide sciatic relief. Be careful not to twist or place strain on your back when getting into or out of bed.

The Alexander technique (for correct posture and movement), taught to back pain sufferers in a randomized trial, was shown to reduce and control their back pain symptoms.4

This technique is used by singers and musicians to maintain correct and healthy posture and can reduce sciatic pain. The best way to learn the Alexander technique is to find a teacher who will train you in a series of classes, and will give you additional exercises to do at home.

Designed by physiotherapist Robin McKenzie in the 1950s to treat a variety lower back problems, including herniated discs and sciatica, the McKenzie exercises can relieve lower back and leg pain.

Your physiotherapist or specialist will help you perform the press-up exercises safely, showing your the correct form. Many back pain patients report fantastic results with leg-pain reduction, even in the first week, when exercises are done regularly.

Tip: When your pain is better under control, the gentle press-up can be strengthened into the yoga cobra pose.

If your pain is caused by pressure from a short or cramped piriformus muscle (the muscle that runs into your hip and across the buttock) you may have piriformis syndrome. This syndrome is diagnosed by ruling out all spinal disc and bone problems.

Piriformis syndrome may appear on a nerve conductance test. Electrical signals are slower when the nerve is strangled by the piriformis muscle.

Runners, cyclists and rowers—anyone who bends forward at their hips a lot and overuses these muscles—is at risk of developing back and leg pain.

  • Lay on your back with one foot on a wall, knee bent at right angles. rest the other foot just above the bent knee on your thigh, and hold for 60 seconds and relax.
  • Repeat on the other side.

If you don't feel enough of a stretch, move closer to the wall bringing your knee closer to your shoulders.

Physiotherapy exercises should be done daily to relieve back pain, correct improper posture, and strengthen the back and core abdominal muscles.

  • Use a yoga mat or folded blankets to make the surface softer, especially when lying on your back.
  • Balance balls are great for strengthening core abdominal and back muscles, and can be used as a chair when traditional seats hurt.
  • Choose a good quality anti-burst balance ball that is the right size for you.
  • If you want to do strength training with your ball, look at the max weight. You'll need a strong ball!

Exercises and Stretches

  • Single knee to chest: Lie on your back, legs straight, with a pillow under your knees. Pull one knee into your chest, feel the stretch through the hip, buttock and into the back. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side. Repeat this many times.
  • Back massaging circles: Lie on your back, both legs gently pulled towards chest. Circle your knees so that the lower back is gently massaged. This may hurt significantly in the beginning, so be gentle. You can do this with a balance ball under your lower calves.
  • Core muscle contractions: Lie on your back, legs straight, with a pillow under your knees. Contract only the deep muscles that stabilize the spine, breathe as normally and as relaxed as possible. Hold for 30 seconds then release. Repeat many times. This is surprisingly difficult to do!
  • Lying twist: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Stretch your arms at shoulder height, away from your body. Drop your knees to one side, and turn your head to the other. Be gentle! Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
  • Balance ball bridge: Lie on your back with a balance ball under your calves. Keep your shoulders and neck on the ground and raise your pelvis so that your back and upper legs are in a straight line. Drop your pelvis slowly to the ground. Repeat 10-15 times. If you don't have a balance ball, use a chair under your calves.
  • Balance ball diagonal arm/leg raise: Lie with your stomach on the balance ball, legs and arms on the ground, shoulder width apart. Raise your right arm and left leg horizontal with the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side. Repeat these 10-15 times. Do this exercise on your hand and knees if you don't have a balance ball.

Many gentle yoga poses can relieve sciatic pain. Plus there are many other stretching and back strengthening poses to prevent it from reoccurring.5,6

Important: Check with a doctor or physiotherapist, start gently and relax. Never strain to hold a pose in yoga - it is not a competition. Warm up and cool down with light aerobic movements and gentle stretches to avoid injury.

If you find yoga too strenuous or painful, tai chi may be more appropriate.

Yoga Poses

  • Cat-cow pose relieves pressure and increases mobility in the back (marjariasana).
  • Standing forward bend loosens the hips, stretching the hamstrings and lower back (uttanasana).
  • Head-to-knee pose stretches the lower back and hips (janu sirsasana).
  • Big-toe pose stretches the hamstrings and relieves lower back pain (supta padangusthana).
  • a butterfly leg pose opens and loosens the hips (baddha konnasana).
  • Fire-log pose opens the hips (agnistambhasana).
  • Lower back twist loosens the back muscles (bharadvajasana).
  • Sage's pose loosens the back muscles (marichyasana).

The Best Yoga Stretches for Low Back Pain

The following yoga demonstration puts my favorite go-to stretches into a gentle flow. These are great for sciatica caused by cramped muscles and piriformis syndrome.

Be careful when attempting the strengthening poses. If at any time your nerve twinges, stop, stretch gently and relax.

  • Extended side-angle pose stretches the outside of the leg and chest, and strengthens the back (utthita parsvakonasana).
  • Warrior pose variations strengthen the legs and lower back (virabhadrasana).
  • Cobra pose strengthens the back, but be careful not to over-stretch (bhujangasana).
  • Downward-facing dog lengthens and strengthens the back and arms (adho mukha svanasana).

Many therapies have been suggested for sciatic pain, but few have been proven to work scientifically.

Acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, TENS, ultrasound, and traction have had mixed or poor results in studies, and are not usually recommended by doctors. Most of these physical therapies aren't likely to worsen your condition, but check with your doctor before trying one.

If you do find an alternative therapy that does provide relief, then continue to use it!

Be aware that herbs (both eastern and western) are processed in your body. Make sure the ingredients are not dangerous to your kidneys, liver, stomach, and that you aren't allergic to anything.

Avoid back braces—they have longer-term drawbacks, such as encouraging poor posture and weakening muscles.1

Famous People with Sciatica

Did you know that the following famous people have sciatica?

  • Debbie Allen - American dancer and choreographer.
  • James Cagney - American stage and film actor.
  • Duncan Ferguson - Scottish ex-footballer who played for Everton and Newcastle United.
  • Eileen Joyce - Australian concert pianist.
  • Gabby Logan - Welsh TV presenter on the BBC, and ex-gymnast.
  • Bela Lugosi - Hungarian actor, famous for playing Dracula on stage and in film.
  • Rosa Mota - Portuguese marathon runner and gold medalist.


  1. Cost Action B13 - Low back pain: guidelines for its management, European Commission Research Directorate General, accessed March 2012.
  2. Advice to rest in bed versus advice to stay active for acute low-back pain and sciatica, K.T. Dahm,, Cochrane database, June 2010, 16:(6)
  3. Guideline update: what's the best approach to acute low back pain? S.M. Bach,, Journal of Family Practice, December 2009, 58(12):E1
  4. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain, P. Little,, British Medical Journal, 2008, 337:a884
  5. Yoga Journal - Therapeutic Focus - Sciatica
  6. Yoga Learning Center


What is the best way for you to relieve sciatic pain at home, naturally?
Let us know in the comments below!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Sharon on June 14, 2015:

I am short - 5'2" - and when I was mobile I would try to push heavy shopping trolleys. I remember the pull on my lower spine as I maneuvered the trolleys but never suffered any pain. Now some 20 years later I am in a wheel-chair suffering from spinal arthritis - lumbar stenosis and sciatica which is very debilitating. I am not able to take any anti inflammatory pain relief because they may result in a higher blood pressure. I can manage the arthritis but the sciatica is bringing me to a standstill; if I stretch out my arm to answer the telephone I can feel the pain start and I obtain no relief for most of the day.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 10, 2015:

Thanks Karine - I certainly understand the medical profession's stake in disproving herbs and supplements! There are studies showing how the chemical compounds in herbs/spices *might* help, but they are almost never done in a whole food/diet controlled combination. Research methods really need to improve and become transparent, unlike they are today.

Of course, the best route is to try a lot of things (as long as they are safe!) Then keep the treatments, therapies, exercises, food, and supplements that benefit you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Karine Gordineer from Upstate New York on June 08, 2015:

I liked the details of yoga and so on - I've had sciatica on and off for much of my adult life. I would have to strongly disagree, however, on the statement about herbs/acupuncture, not being effective. Many studies on herbs are not very well done and often conducted to disprove an herb. (The medical profession does have a stake in doing so btw.) When used correctly, along with diet to greatly reduce inflammation, and exercise herbs can be very effective at healing the pain and avoiding costly, invasive and potentially damaging drugs and surgery. Other than that I thought the hub was great and loved the info on the exercises - thank you for sharing.

bnty on February 10, 2015:

Im bnty my age is 24,I have a back problem since 1 year.

I visit many doctrs bt no doctrs helps me 2 find out problm,

I have also mri report . bt report says dat evry thing is normal,

Now i confused about dis

Is it scietica

John Hollywood from Hollywood, CA on September 17, 2014:

Instant "vote up" hub for me. I have terrible back pain and this hub was just all kinds of helpful. Thank you!!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 10, 2014:

Kathleen - Let me know if you have any questions, or if you find one particular exercise useful!

Kaili - Core strengthening is definitely important for reducing the strain on the lower back. And yoga is good for flexibility - good for those who have a soft-tissue cause of sciatica. Thanks!

Penny - It's devastating having to give up a job to illness (I have had to 'downsize' my job multiple times thanks to worsening endometriosis and fibromyalgia). How do the stretches and home treatments help you? Let me know if you have any questions!

penny ticknor on September 09, 2014:

i have had pain for 4 months now straight had to quit a good paying job cause i can hardly walk if i try to walk a lot the other leg starts to i don't know what to do my husband is trying for disability and i can't work i need help but i have no little kids so i can't get nothing

Kaili Bisson from Canada on June 01, 2014:

I know yoga has done wonders for my back health. Strengthening the core is very important to keeping the back pain-free...great article!

Kathleen Odenthal from Bridgewater on May 01, 2014:

Wow, what a well written, well researched hub! And just what I need too! I have issues with my sciatic nerves all the time. Thank you for this piece, I have bookmarked it for reference and will share it with friends!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on March 10, 2014:

Phildazz - I'd also love to know which yoga poses you use! Are they some from the ones I have listed, or have a missed some useful ones?

ms.tired of pain on February 24, 2014:

wow!your sciatic problem is gone. i have sciatic nerve pain on my left leg for about 11/2 years it is so painful. please what are the yoga exercises you did and for how long you did them

Allan Philip from Toronto on February 23, 2014:

I had Sciatica for many years and now I'm completely heal. My cure is Yoga and breathing exercises, prayers. That's it, totally gone!

Oscar Jones from Monroeville, Alabama on February 18, 2014:

lots of information. I was run over when I was 15, ( by a tractor.) healing from parental prayers and faith in God occurred. Then later (in my thirties) I experienced low back pain to the point of desperation. healing again, when I felt a divine hand press on my back while in an Alaska village, with no more chronic low back pain. now in my fifties, I now use natural herbs to help relax my shoulders, neck, and back, while still working in physically stressful jobs. some of my sciatic pain is triggered by riding a bicycle in the summer, plus being a little bit of a heavy framed guy. I limit myself on how many hours standing on a job, or driving on another job I do. I have learned several of the techniques you listed in your article/ research as well. very well written, with links and shared resources!

I have learned to read my own body language and use special swinging rhythms of motion, to counteract outright weight/ lift motion, much like an athlete, or wrestler. maybe someone else would use dance motion, or whatever, but it all helps!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on February 15, 2014:

Hi rjbatty! Sounds like an option for those who have sciatica which originated from a disc problem. Thanks for sharing your experience!

rjbatty from Irvine on February 13, 2014:

I suffered from sciatica for a number of years. The pain became intolerable and I searched for a surgical treatment. I can recommend Microdiscectomy surgery as a way to get relief. I was frightened to go this route, but I was desperate. The way it works is that the surgeon uses a microscope to locate your deviated septum and removes just the part that is bulging from the disc. The incision was about an inch in length. After the anesthesia wore off, I was able to stand up completely without pain. The whole deal is removing the pressure on the sciatic nerve. I had been crawling around the apartment on all fours then could suddenly resume a normal life (taking caution not to lift heavy weights). It's been several years now, and although some pain has returned, it isn't anywhere near the debilitating level I experienced previously. I suggest you look into it. It's better than taking pain killers and seems to be a long-lasting option. You can do this on an out-patient basis.

Sue on November 18, 2013:

Hello! I'm typing this while recovering from a bout of Sciatica. It's my first serious bout (I'm 52) and awaiting an MRI scan to identify the cause. I've had a couple of falls (down the stairs) many years apart which I think may have contributed to the problem. The falls were not serious, I mean I got up and walked away feeling sore and bruised but I just carried on and felt a bit daft. Both times I landed on my back and bounced down a few stairs. I've had twinges for years but they often went away after a few days and were not painful. I guess because I'm older now I'm less resilient which accounts for the latest bout which has been very painful indeed. I take painkillers (over the counter stuff) with a muscle relaxant and a nerve tablet and get great relief although I do feel quite groggy. I have found the info on this site very helpful and once I've found out the cause, I'll take the advice here on board.

Many thanks and good luck to all those who suffer, I really hope you find what works for you.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on November 05, 2013:

Hi Tracey! It looks like a new generation of traction machine. Please drop by again and let us know how you went with it. Thanks!

tracey on November 02, 2013:

hi im a chronic siatica as well,im sending for the new true back and can't wait,theres a web site as well,look it up,thought i'd share,tracey,

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 13, 2013:

Helpful tips for reducing sciatic nerve pain naturally. I especially like that you provide a variety of options, along with videos and instructions/descriptions.

genesims on October 07, 2013:

I tried using high power laser therapy to treat my sciatic pain. It has help reduce my recovery time each time. Hopefully it can help others here too.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 24, 2013:

Hi Anusha, My mum is in a similar position, at age 67!

Regular warm water exercise classes have helped her the most (I think the pool is around 28 degrees). Any gentle, non-load bearing stretches and exercises that keep the leg and back joints moving and increase range of motion will help relieve and minimise the pain, even when the joints are painful from arthritis.

Other things that help for spiking strong pain are occasional anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen and voltaren gel - both good for arthritic joints, although you need to be careful how, how much and often you take them).

Personally, I've found that massage with a variety of 'warming' oils help (tiger balm, wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, eucalyptus, menthol, rosemary, black pepper, etc.), but my mum's skin is often too sensitive for these, so just she massages with a base oil. She also loves using her heat packs (made from a cotton cover, filled with brown natural rice, and heated in the microwave).

Hope some of these suggestions help!

anusha on September 23, 2013:

hey mam i have aquestion? that is my grand ma has very leg joint pains and she is suffering very much she takes natural medicines and consulats some doctors and she take some medicines also but there is no change in her jont pains is there is any natural methods for her to get relief from leg joint pains and she is age of 65 give her some suggestion please

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 21, 2013:

Thanks Sean. I would love to know how that is working for you - I have never tried it!

sean on September 11, 2013:

I have been recommended serrapeptase and have just started taking it - will keep you posted if any reduction in sciatic pain

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on August 14, 2013:

Amanda - thank you - I hope you find some relief from these therapies! Pregnancy can be quite hard on the sciatic nerve, but I didn't know it could trigger epilepsy!

milleramanda53 from Florida on July 24, 2013:

This was very helpful.. I have dealt with this since I was a child due to a ATV accident and it became worse after an ectopic pregnancy which lead to lots of nerve damage and epilepsy.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on July 15, 2013:

MikeNV - Ginger, tumeric and many other herbs and spices have slight anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, these will not help when there are mechanical and postural problems that are causing the back pain and sciatica!

Of course, a healthy diet is important for all sorts of reasons. And it's good to find out what food triggers and sensitivities you may have.

Finding a good chiropractor is important, if you want to try that treatment option. I've heard too many horror stories, and one even ripped muscles in my lower back during a treatment for sciatica. I couldn't move for a week!

Thanks for commenting!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on July 15, 2013:

Handymanbill - It certainly is a painful and sometimes tricky problem, especially when disks are involved. I have found that chiropractors can do more harm than good - I've heard so many horror stories about them. Good luck with the other ideas!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on July 15, 2013:

MPG_Narratives - I have also found the McKenzie exercises to work the best for preventing flare ups!

Michael - I hope your wife can find something useful here that will give her relief and keep it away in the long term. Thanks!

Pamela - Thanks! I hope your relative can become pain free with some of these therapies.

BlissfulWriter - thanks!

MikeNV from Henderson, NV on July 15, 2013:

Might I suggest you investigate GINGER. There are recent studies to suggest it's as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs with no side effect profile. Lots of treatments here, but not a lot on nutrition. There are so many ways to heal "if" you give the body the nutrients that make healing possible. Inflammatory promoting foods will always hold you back. Investigate your body's PH Balance and eat foods that do not promote inflammation. The treatments listed are quite extensive. But it's frustrating when you "Try everything" and nothing seems to "hold". Diet is often the last piece of the puzzle. Also finding the "right" Chiropractor can make a world of difference. I have been to many and finally found one that actually makes me feel better. It's not easy because I do not believe what many of them do actually works.

Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on July 15, 2013:

I have sciatic pain. I have gone thru Physical Therapy, Shots in my back,

Traction, Seen A Chiropractor. It has been so bad when it really flares up that I can't even get out of bed for more then a few minuets. I Have Arthritis in my back. The first time I had it I could not stand for a 10 Days. Then I was prescribed an anti Inflammatory.After getting an MRI I find out that a Disk is bad. it is really a very Painful problem. Great Hub and I might try some of the other ideas that you have talked about.

Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on July 14, 2013:

Thanks for a very comprehensive hub on this painful condition. I've messaged it over to a relative via Facebook as I think she will really benefit from all of your information.

Voting up, useful, interesting and sharing.

Michael Leach from Rosarito Beach, Baja, Norte, Mexico on July 12, 2013:

Thank you so much for this beautifully written and comprehensive article. My wife has suffered with sciatica for years and has tried so many methods and treatments during that time. This hub points out some things we haven't tried. I am passing this info on to my wife right away. Thanks again!

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on July 09, 2013:

What a comprehensive hub on how to deal with back problems and sciatica. As a sufferer I have tried most of the remedies you have written about but this hub is a good reminder of the ones that work best. I find the McKenzie exercises really help me.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on March 11, 2013:

Maria - Recovering from sciatica is like that - good days and not so good ones. Working on your feet, especially if you are standing (and not walking) can worsen sciatica - especially if you are like me! I frequently catch myself standing on one leg only when I'm teaching, resting the other. This poor posture puts a lot of strain on the sciatic nerve, as it runs near the piriformis muscle. Piriformis stretches seem to help the most for this type of sciatica, and swimming/warm water help to relieve the tension in the piriformis muscle.

I wish you speedy healing - difficult with a standing job I know!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on March 11, 2013:

Lou - If you have sacroiliac joint pain, you may also have coccydynia, which can occur with/from sciatica. An entrapped sciatic nerve may show up in an MRI, especially if it's entrapped in the spinal column - has anyone imaged your lower back and hips (xray, MRI, ultrasound)? Treatment for this can vary, but can involve surgery. There are a large number and variety of medications for sciatica - which ones did the doctor try you on? I hope you can find a new medication, and some stretches and exercises that can help reduce the pain and the tightness in your piriformis and sacroiliac joints!

Good luck!

maria on March 10, 2013:

having been dealing with sciatica pain for over 3 months now--and have somewhat good days and not so good days--take too many advil, tylenol, aleve, wish i never have to take them again. Hope someday that will be true. I have gone to a chiropractor, have had 3 acupuncture treatments, I exercise regularly, not overweight. I do work on my feet. I can't believe there are so many people out there with this same dibilitating problem--I too would never wish this on my worst enemy. Some of your stories are so much worse than mine--and I truly feel your pain! I just want to scream --and want it to go away forever. I pray for all of you. Thanks for listening.

Lou on March 09, 2013:

I've suffered for 5 years now with what has been diagnosed as sciatica, and it's getting worse. Tried everything possible, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, pt, tens unit, specialized back clinic therapy, therapeutic massage (just completed 6 weeks), couldn't take the meds my doc prescribed cause they caused dizziness and stomach upset. The neurosurgeon's opinion was an inflamed piriformis muscle. The massage therapist indicated that the sacro was "frozen" (immovable). She also mentioned the possibility of "entrapment", but I can't find anyone who can accurately diagnose the problem or treat it. My right leg has shrunk more than an inch in the upper thigh region, and I've fallen flat on my face due to weakness. Where do I go from here?

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on February 08, 2013:

Neinahpets - Let me know how you go with these natural treatments - I'd love to know which ones work best for you!

Stephanie from Canada on January 28, 2013:

VERY informative. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I have a lot of problems with sciatic pain so this was very nice to read :) Thank you.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on January 27, 2013:

Anna - Thank you for sharing your story! I found that a couple of hip stretches done at night helps me sleep. But for mobility and reduced pain throughout the day, as you mentioned, stretching/exercising in the morning is much better. I am so happy that these exercises work well for you!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on January 27, 2013:

Mags - I also wouldn't wish sciatic pain on anyone!

Bulging discs are much more difficult to deal with than soft tissue causes of sciatica, they take time to heal.

In addition to the chiro treatments, and medications (I assume you take anti-inflammatories), gentle core-strengthening exercises may help, and shouldn't put pressure on the discs. Try lying on your back and tightning your core abdominal muscles for 30-40 seconds (deep in your abdomen, you can feel them just a bit towards your middle near your hip bones). It might be easier with your knees bent to begin with. Don't forget to breathe normally (harder than it sounds!) Stronger core muscles reduce the pressure on the muscles around the spine.

An exercise ball is also good for the core muscles - try simply sitting and maintaining your balance, or laying with feet up and slightly swinging feet slowly from side to side, with core muscles tightened.

Plus, keep active -- gentle movement keeps the blood flowing to the area, which helps with healing. Exercises in a warm-therapy pool, or gentle walking.

I wish for you, lots of healing soon!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on January 27, 2013:

Margui - do you know what is causing the pain? Perhaps pressure on the sciatic nerve through tight piriformis muscles, or pressure from the baby directly on the sciatic nerve?

Gentle stretching, especially of the hips and quads should help if you have tight hip muscles. Have a look at some of the stretches when lying on your back, on a slightly slanted surface, with your head higher (better when pregnant). The seated stretches for the hips and glute muscles are also good. Standing hip flexor stretches may also be useful if the sciatic is caused by tightness of piriformis muscles. Gentle seated spinal twists and pelvic tilt exercises may help loosen any tightness in the lower back. The cat-cow stretch (on hands/knees) is great for mobility of the spine, and can reduce the pressure on the nerve, plus it has the added benefit of including pelvic tilts.

Heat applied to the lower back, or around the hips, or massage may also help relieve some pain. Lying on your non-painful side may reduce some of the pressure, if the sciatic pain/numbness is one sided. Of course, avoid heeled shoes, and carrying anything lop-sided!

Best of luck, and please let us know if anything works well for you!

Margui on January 26, 2013:

Any pregnancy advise for sciatica. Can take any meds can't spends lots of money on chiropractors for 8months.

Anna Banana on January 24, 2013:

Thankyou so much! I am 20 years old and work in a pretty full on physical job. Was diagnosed with sciatica after I had a disk pop. As if the disk didn't hurt enough, the sciatica is continuing long after my back has felt better. I find that once I start moving, I am fine with most tasks (avoiding lifting and bending of course!) But the minute I sit down for 15 minutes or more, my whole right leg is painful and often goes numb! To get up and move about is excruciating! Which sucks after a long day at work all you want to do is sit and relax a moment! The exercises are fantastic and I have started doing them first thing in the morning, which gets me through work! I have also found light pilates exercises and swimming incredibly beneficial! All the best to you all and thank you for the advice!!!

Mags on December 11, 2012:

I have chronic sciathic pain all down and up my left leg constant agony its ruining my life I'm 27 can't work I'm beautician can't walk or go anywhere even doin simple tasks like washing the dishes is not possible.I have lots bulging discs in lower are useless given me no help its cost me a fortune been to chiro and due to chance the epidural.its making me depressed just cry its so intense.I would not wish it on my worst enemy.its like this 10months now all due to a guy tripping me on a night out.never before had any trouble.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on November 02, 2012:

Sciaticarelieftip - McKenzie and other physio exercises keep me almost fully sciatic-pain free! It's only when I get lazy or too busy that I risk a sciatic flare. Thanks for dropping by!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on November 02, 2012:

It depends on what the cause of your sciatica is, so I can't give you one answer.

For me, mine is caused by inflammation around the sciatic nerve. In a flare, if I consistently do my physio exercises, and use heat, I can get rid of the sciatic pain within a week. However, that's because I know which exercises work for me. When I first got sciatica, and was trying to figure out why, I had sciatic pain for months on end.

Find the cause of the sciatic pain, get doctors or physios to recommend treatments and exercises specifically for you, and then do them regularly - it's the best course of action.

akhtar khan on November 02, 2012:

how much time sciatica to get rid

Brone Mandel on October 30, 2012:

McKenzie exercises for sciatica pain is an excellent workout! I have personally used it to get rid of my sciatica pain. It also helps to stabilize the lower back muscles.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on October 29, 2012:

Olliedog - I'm so glad you found something that worked so well for you!

I had Chinese acupuncture and Chinese herbs for years, not just for sciatica, but also to help ease adenomyosis/endometriosis pain. Unfortunately, it's very dependent on the actual acupuncturist. One was fantastic, but she retired to have a baby. I tried another 4 acupuncturists after her, but none helped with any of my problems.

Acupuncture is certainly worth a try, and if it works, fantastic!

Olliedog on October 28, 2012:

I had a fall and re-injured my prolapsed L5 S1 disk. My previous injury was nothing in comparison to the absolute agony I felt this time. I was totally bedridden, unable to move more than a couple of steps from my bed. I was carried to the doctor and ER but only more strong painkiller could help me. My doc referred me to physical therapy and not even they would touch me. Looking for any solution to this agony I tried Chinese accupuncture and was told by acupuncturist she could relieve me of this horrible pain. My husband carried me in there and I had my first session. I walked out of there on my own. My second visit even more relief. I am now able to walk short distances . I still have muscle pain from being so tensed up with pain but I am 90% recovered in just 2 accupuncture treatments. I cannot believe my pain, that I felt there was no end to, is gone. Give it a go, I really would never have believed it myself but I am living walking proof, it does work .

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on October 22, 2012:

Thanks Carol! I hope you don't need these solutions - I wouldn't wish back pain on anyone!

carol stanley from Arizona on September 05, 2012:

Great natural solutions to back pain which can be sooo painful. I have had a few. I wish I had this hub for solutions. Thanks for sharing and I am going to bookmark, up vote and of course share.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 04, 2012:

love zebras - I found rolfing to be far too painful! Better to soften and mobilise the muscles in a gentler way, at least for me! Magnesium and potassium are definitely great for preventing cramps and muscle spasms.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 04, 2012:

mvwilkins - Thank you! Regular activity, stretching and a healthy lifestyle is certainly key to preventing sciatica.

MySciaticaRelief - Thanks! I did not find any relief through medications (as I can't take anti-inflammatories, and my sciatica is soft-tissue/inflammation based). I'm glad my experience in fighting this naturally can help!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on September 04, 2012:

Doug57 - sounds like you have a lot of iissues that compound each other! I don't have experience with the bone/disc side of things, as my sciatica is fully caused by soft-tissue and nerve problems. I do know that back surgery is tough, with a difficult recovery period (one of my friends has had it).

Your sciatic problem could be caused by a number of things -- compression of the nerve in the spine, or tension, bracing muscles and a lop-sided posture, which is common with one-sided injuries and cane or crutch use. An xray or MRI should show if the nerve is compressed in the spine, and the treatment for this is different from muscle/soft-tissue causes. I think this would be my first question to the doc, before trying any treatments.

Personally I avoid chiropractors, especially if the cause of pain is not known. I know there are good ones out there, but I once saw one for my sciatica as a teenager, and his manipulations managed to tear tendons, cause extreme deep bruising, and made the problem so much worse. If it your sciatica has a soft-tissue cause, then a physio/osteo may be able to suggest some options. If the nerve is compressed inside the spine or by the bulging discs, you should speak to your doc/surgeon. The cause of the sciatica needs to be found (or at least, the spinal causes ruled out), before you can successfully tackle it.

If heat helps, keep using your heat packs and hot showers - this certainly keeps me going through painful periods.

Best of luck, and I hope your pain reduces soon!

love zebras on September 03, 2012:

The best treatment for scatica and/or body pain and discomfort is Rolfing aka Structural Integration, find a practitioner who has trained at the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute in Boulder Colorado. However, a trained Rolfer, is usual challenging to find however, it is totally worth it. Herbal pain relievers: Devil's Claw, Butcher's Broom, additional Magnesium with Calcium, potassium, zinc. These are not as strong as prescription or OTC drugs. Blessings for a Divine Healthy Body.

Doug57 on August 28, 2012:

I have DDD and spinal Stenios, buldging disc`s, My Specialist i go to wants me to have surgery, my Doc, does not as it may do more damage to my already screwed up back, I`m on pain pills muscel relaxant nothing helps, but the back pain i got along with as i have had it for over 30yrs, now but 2 monthas ago i got the Sciatiac Nerve problem, and it is a mind blowing pain, my wife don`t understand how sever it is , it is on my right hip , which i have to also tell you i have a below knee amputation to make it worse yet, i take hot showers and i also sleep with a heated blanket on to releive the pain , even in the 90 degree heat, just to help, my hip, and back I went yesterday to my prothessiest and his mom also has the same thing as i have, and she goes to a chriopractor, and uses a hip brace that her son had her use , so they set me up with the brace that is like a back brace and a corset a 2 in one , i had it on from about 11:30 yesterday till 8:30 last night i hurt bad after i took it off and went to bed as my wife does not really believe how much it hurts, i walk now with a cane again, to get around i am an active person or was now i don`t want to get up, i have had mri cat scans x-rays you name it i have had it, i have a friend that had the same thing and he had the surgery now he is pain free, after being laid up for 6 months due to the surgery, i also have had several heart attacks since 2003 and several stents, i go for upper and lower and bleeding alcer surgey this coming september, i don`t know if I`m coming or going I`m in pain all the time, this morning i could not walk when i got up i made it to the shower and took a hot shower to lossen up the hip muscels then put the brace on, ..Should i go to my chrio to see if he can help? get the surgery? If in a deliema or a pickel, any help will be much appreiciated.. Doug

MySciaticaRelief from California on August 21, 2012:

Excellent info on sciatica. It's very common nowadays and even with the various medications available, natural relief methods are always the best.

mvwilkins from USA, Texas, Dallas area on August 15, 2012:

You have a lot of great information here very helpful. I can't really count all the aches and pains I have inflicted on myself while practicing martial arts over the years. The most important thing I have learned is regular activity and good stretching goes a long way in not only curing sciatica pain but avoiding it in most cases. Sciatica can be caused by many different things and discovering the cause of the pain is always the first step. After that we are better able to go about curing it. I love your page and appreciate all the hard work you have obviously gone through to bring this information to us all.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on August 08, 2012:

rvarax - Injuring yourself during martial arts classes is common - I'm glad you had mostly recovered, and I hope you get past this current flare quickly. It's awful to miss out on things due to illness/injury!

It's unlikely that the calf muscle is connected to the sciatic injury that happened a year prior. I have never heard of a blood clot caused by sciatic. However, if you are restricting your movement by bracing or not stretching the lower back/hips (trying to avoid pain), it could theoretically form. My blood clot formed from a sharp blow to my calf (falling down stairs). Others have been reported to have trouble with blood clots if they sit for long periods. What did your doctor say about how it formed? Also, what did he say about treatment?

Have you seen a physio or an osteopath? They can give you exercises and stretches to improve range of motion and decrease pain, specifically tailored to where you are stiff and sore. Keep stretching and exercising, and try to increase flexibility. It does require a lot of perserverence to get rid of sciatica (and I'm not so good at being persistent!)

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on August 08, 2012:

Vespawoolf -- A heel stretcher? I haven't heard of such a thing! Glad it works! You are certainly right -- everything is connected. Exercises and stretches really are the best for sciatica. I'm happy that your husband is managing well. Let me know what you and your husband thinks of the Alexander technique if you try it.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on August 08, 2012:

Monika - Unfortunately, everyone is different, and every sciatic flare is different. It's impossible to say how long the pain will last, or if it will return. I know that with working on my posture, and doing regular stretching and exercising, I have very few problems with it (for me, sciatica is a symptom of another disease).

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on August 08, 2012:

Bridalletter - Fearful of my contribution to their lives? I hope not!! I'm glad that you are doing better - being able to go longer between shots is a great improvement. Keep going with the physical therapy -- it has certainly helped me the most!

rvarax on August 06, 2012:

I landed badly doing forward flips at martial arts class around 3 years ago, pinching my sciatic nerve. Initially i was in a lot of pain, i went into shock which didn't help, and could hardly walk for around 3 weeks. Then slowly but surely it became better, though there are some movements i suspect i will never be able to do comfortably again.

Then around 18 months ago my calf muscle on the same leg became very sore, like a bad bruise, even though i had not done anything that could of injured it. The doctor sent me for an ultrasound and it turned out i had a 12 cm deep vein blood clot! Has anyone else heard of this happening after a sciatic nerve injury?

Lately the initial sciatic injury has started to flare up, never this bad before. I am a very active 35 yr old woman. I eat fairly healthy and don't drink alcohol. I'm very concerned that this will plague me for the rest of my life. I'm finding more and more that i am having to exclude myself from activities with my family ( rock climbing, long beach walks, play wars). It is very frustrating, and i'm starting to feel old before my time.

Thanks for listening.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 05, 2012:

I was happy to see you wrote an article on sciatica as my husband suffers from this pain frequently. He manages it with exercises and stretches. We purchased a heel stretcher from Amazon that's specifically for plantar fasciitis and that's worked wonders. It seems everything is connected! I've never heard of the Alexander technique and will look into it, hopefully for more permanent relief. Thanks so much for another detailed and well-written hub.

monika on July 31, 2012:

hello suffering from scatic pain since 3 months......i have just stated exercises and i am doing better now.......but can anyone please tell me how many days will it take to get cure permanantly from this pain....please help me guys....

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on July 30, 2012:

you have added a great deal more information in all the responses to your followers. I keep checking back for all the shared experiences. This is the longest I have gone without a shot, so every little but helps for relief. I think this one of the best and most useful hubs on here. So many of us are so fearful for your contribution to our lives.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on July 30, 2012:

Jackie - Thank you for sharing your story - heat pads are wonderful things - I need to make some more for myself! I'm so sorry to hear about your sciatic flare. I hope you recover quickly! You are doing the right thing in easing into the exercises and stretches slowly. A warm shower or bath might also help, especially as the heat pack works for you. Take care and best of luck in healing!

mommyjackie on July 30, 2012:

I have this severe back pain in my right side since last year of december. I am a cashier and i lift some heavy stuff. I never knew abt siatica until he told me abt it. Last night when i lift kid's table i hear my back popped and the pain ia like thunder that attacks my back down to my right leg. Im so glad i found ur site and im trying all the exercise little by little. I just remember to use my heating pad cause that helps me a lot when i had it last yr. Thank u much for all the tips and info you shared. God bless us all.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 28, 2012:

catmalone - Thank you! Driving long distances is definitely a trigger! I think the key is to take regular stretching breaks on the longer trips, also good for concentration. I did manage to get through a few 6+ hour drives this way!

catmalone on June 07, 2012:

Very awesome hub. I have experience sciatic pain from time to time because I drive long distance to work. Your hub has given me a lot of tips and information in treating this condition if it shall return. Thanks!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 05, 2012:

It certainly can go on for months, years, especially with poor doctors who just prescribe pain killers, saying that the pain is "all in your head" without looking for the cause of the pain! (Which is what happened to me as a teen.) Search out doctors who actively look for a cause, and refer you to appropriate specialists and physiotherapists. Movement, mobility, good posture and relaxation are often key to recovery.

J on June 04, 2012:


Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 04, 2012:

Avataar - I'm glad to hear that physiotherapy has stopped the sciatic pain. I believe the permanent solution is to always use correct posture, move a lot and stretch to keep good mobility in joints and muscles, and lead a generally healthy life (food / sleep / etc.) Let us know how you go with the supplements!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 04, 2012:

Thanks Karen! Gentle yoga is excellent for sciatica - it helped me the most to regain and maintain mobility. Massage also has helped me with a host of problems, including sciatica. But if there is a spinal cause (bulging discs) then it should be avoided. Glad to hear that you recovered well!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 04, 2012:

jmallar - You are right - sciatic pain is not fun at any age! My first flare was when I was a teen - horrible!

Pain does affect blood pressure - I find various relaxation techniques useful to get through the really spikes (breathing / visualising / consciously relaxing tense muscles), even though they are very difficult to do during those times. This also helps lower high blood pressure.

It's important to find out the cause of the sciatic - MRI/xray is useful - I'm glad the doctors are following this up quickly.

A sciatic flare can last from a day or two, to months at a time (or longer, depending on the cause).

Avoid manual therapy and massage, until you've ruled out causes in the spine. Once spinal damage is ruled out, the doctors should recommend you see a physiotherapist for specific exercises/stretches.

Try some of the really gentle stretches/mobility exercises for the lower back, hips and hamstring muscles - don't do any that result in shooting sharp pains. Walk around a lot using gentle steps, and try to keep them as even as possible. Try heat or ice on your lower back - use whichever works best. For me, I can't use ice - it makes the pain a lot worse, but for others ice works wonders. If you sit on a couch with legs up, or lay in bed, a pillow under your knees may help - it reduces the pressure on the lower back.

Good luck!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on June 04, 2012:

Justin1213 - thanks! and I'm sorry to hear that the pain is lingering. Unfortunately, it's quite common for sciatic pain and interference with walking to last for a time, even after regaining mobility. How long the length of time is, varies from patient to patient. Recovery usually starts with mobility - so you are doing great! Be patient, and stick with the gentle exercises/stretches, and avoid those things which put pressure on the sciatic (poor posture while carrying/lifting/turning, etc.) Good luck!

avataar from India on June 03, 2012:

I am having the pain since three years.I did physiotherapy.It worked.The pain was gone after three months of regular physiotherapy.Bad news is it is still not a permanent solution.I am looking for a permanent solution.I will follow some of your tips like supplements.

Thanks for sharing information.

Family Black from Dallas, Texas on June 03, 2012:

Thorough hub. I had a pinched nerve last fall and was miserable. I didn't even think of massage until I was already coming out of it, but I'm convinced that would've helped tremendously. Enjoyed your yoga section too. Karen

jmallar from Piedmont, OK on June 02, 2012:

Mine started in the lower back only on the right. They prescribed me Flexeril 10mg and Loratab. I also had a pain shot as well. Within a week, it didn't get any better. It has now spread down to the front of my thigh which now feels worse than my back. They now prescribed me Flexeril, Prednizone, stronger pain med. I couldn't sit for more than 10 seconds, so was supposed to go on a 2nd round job interview. I have a feeling that's not going to happen Monday.

Went to ER today and they gave me a shot for pain relief because at this point, I need pain control. Its even affecting my blood pressure. Bottom number was 128 yesterday.

Since Ive never had this, Im just wondering how long this is going to last?? MRI and bone density test early next week.

The pain for me when sitting is almost unbearable. I rarely get sleep at night. This is NOT fun at 42 yrs old.


Justin1213 on June 02, 2012:

Hey this was a great article. I'm 30 and I got sciatic pain in my leg about four weeks ago. My dr. thinks I pulled a muscle that is pressing against the nerve. While I didn't feel pain in my back, my mobility and able to walk was greatly hindered by pain. I've been on pain relievers and muscle relaxers for about a week now. In the past couple days, my mobility has returned pretty much completely and I have no great pain standing up etc...but the sciatic pain in my leg is still there and at times just as strong. Is this normal? I'm optimistic because of my mobility returning..but the face the pain is still just lingering there and in all reality still making it impossible for me to walk normally is worrying me.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on May 29, 2012:

mimi - Ouch! Sciatica may not show on x-ray or MRI scans -- mine never did, because mine is from soft tissue inflammation. And pain killers never helped me much when the sciatic flared. Sitting and walking can feel excruciating. Have you tried gently stretching your back, legs and hips while laying down? Does heat or ice help at all? Keep trying! I hope your flare settles soon!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on May 29, 2012:

sadie423 - I'm sorry to hear that your sciatica flares each month! Please let us know which of these tips and exercises help you the most! Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts!

mimi on May 28, 2012:

I've been to the hospital twice in one week they did MRI cat-scans and X-ray and found nothing. It hurts to stand, sit, walk or even use the toilet. The only time I get any relief is when I lay down. I tried prescribed pain meds, muscle relaxer and over the counter meds.. it seems like nothing is working for me

sadie423 from North Carolina on May 25, 2012:

5 pregnancies have left me with sciatic pain that flares up at least once a month and usually lands me on my back on the floor... Lots of great info here, some I knew about and some I haven't tried, but will keep in mind for the next flare up!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on May 23, 2012:

Gypsy Rose Lee - Rainy day sciatic twinging? Sounds like it could be due to an old injury - but I'm glad it's only occasional. I've found stretching and movement to work well, in addition to a healthy diet! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with sciatica.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on May 23, 2012:

Voted up and useful. Thanks for the great information. I only get an occasional twinge from my sciatic and it sometimes hurts a little on rainy days. Guess I'll try to add more fruit and vegetables to my diet and I do like to use plenty of fresh lemon juice. Passing this on.

Glen Nunes from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on May 22, 2012:

It's true that you have to taper off of gabapentin to avoid withdrawal effects, but it technically isn't a narcotic. I take it for MS-related neuralgia and spasticity, and it helps a great deal. I hadn't heard of it being used for acute pain, but if it relieves sciatica for some people, that's excellent.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on May 22, 2012:

Eljavinero - I think gabapentin is an anti-epileptic, but not narcotic -- it's not an opioid, but it does have nasty withdrawal effects. I've been on it for over 5 years now, to help with fibromyalgia pain, otherwise I would never move from being a ball of pain in bed. Taken at night, it does help tremendously with chronic background pain, as it slows the neuron-firing rate in the brain. But I never found it helped with the acute pain of sciatica. Good to know it can work for other people against sciatica!

Hot tub jets, relax the muscles and calms nerves, I wish I had access to one! They do work wonderfully.

Thanks again for commenting and sharing your experiences!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on May 22, 2012:

Weightlossguru - Definitely for common viruses, alternative treatments are best too! Thanks for dropping by!

Eljavinero on May 20, 2012:

Gabapentin does help for the nerve pain when trying to sleep it is a direct pain targeter and relaxer so it makes you very groggy and only to be taken at night. It is a narcotic so you can't just stop taking it cold turkey, you can actually get seizures. So you must dose down slowly to have no side effects. Now massage doesn't really help, just because massaging makes it extremely painful. But hot tubs jets combined with the hot water is the best help i find.

weightlossguru on May 17, 2012:

I always go natural if there are alternative treatments like for common colds and flu!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on May 13, 2012:

Eljavinero - thank you so much for your detailed comments and for detailing your experience! Lifting and carrying seems to be one of the most common causes of sciatica.

I'm glad to hear that swimming/warm water/tiger balm/heat/balance ball and yoga helped -- physical style therapies do seem to help to have the best long term effects. As you seem to have a more muscular/nerve cause (not bone), have you found massage to be useful?

Taking it easy around flares is always difficult, because it is frustrating, but it is necessary. And I'm so happy you have a supportive family! It helps so much.

I hadn't heard of ketorolac - it sounds useful for those who can have NSAIDs, for short term relief of acute pain. Did you find the gabapentin helped?

I'll certainly cross my fingers and hope your flare goes away quickly! Best of luck!

Eljavinero on May 12, 2012:

I have had sciatic pain for about 3 years now, i actually got it from working at the airport loading cargo holds(suitcases). I had limped and dragged my foot, not being able to slleep without pain, barely able to even sit on the toilet or even wash myself well for about a 1yr-11/2yrs. I had actually did lots of swimming which helped because of the less amount of weight on my hips and back, constant hottub sessions, lots of tigerbalm, using the yoga ball( lean your stomach on the ball and it straightens out you back and relaxa it). My pain had conpletely went away for a year or a year and a half. Then i got a really bad flare up to the point i was literally screaming and stiff i could move or stand up, the inside of my right knee lost feeling( went to sleep). I had went to emergency where they had given me a Toridol( ketorolac) injection witch is a mix of pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, it helped a bit then pain continued for another month. Knee remained knumb until 3 weeks ago it went extremely bad again, i tried decompression which is similar to traction, disnt help one bit emergency gave me oxycodone prescription, ketorolac and gabapentin for the nerve pain at night which helps me sleep. This past week i went back to emergency buecause i no longer wanted to take oxycodone i didn't want to risk my personal health on an extremely addictive drug. So the resident dr said to replace one oxycodone with 600mg of advil and two extra strength tylenol i stopped taking oxycodone straigth cold turkey no prob and stayed on ketorolac and im actually doing aurprisingly alright past couple days had some really bad pains where my foot has dragged and i couldn't walk. But now on the heat thing and its helping again very slowly nerve is still extremely tight sometimes i have the crying outbreaks because its effect my wife and son seeing me this way. Im doing anything to get over this, having a extremely supportive and positive wife helps so much in sometimes a depressive process. Having people that care and love you help a lot, cross your fingers and please pray this goes away for me i want to enjoy my life with my wife amd 15 month old son. I reapect and appreciate all of you people that have gone through this because i k ow it isn't easy!!! Heads up guys!!!

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on May 11, 2012:

Stacy - Your back condition sounds dreadfully painful! With rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), bulging and torn discs, and piriformis syndrom, you've got all of the chronic sciatica causes! I am not surprised the usual pain medications haven't helped.

I hope your doctors have explained your medication and surgery options, specifically for RA and stenosis?

I don't have any experience with spinal issues (my sciatica is purely soft-tissue and nerves, not bone/disc), so I can't say anything that has helped me personally with RA. I have read that laminectomy surgery works well to correct stenosis, but I don't know of anyone who has had this operation.

With the piriformis muscle and soft tissue inflammation, I'd guess the pain clinic should have explained the things that normally work well. Meditation and tension scanning (to help cope with the pain levels), gentle stretching and movement to get more mobility and reduce compression on the nerve. Of course, you would need to check with a physio and MD that any exercises or stretches do not aggravate the discs/stenosis.

Some modifications that helped me around the home when my sciatica was at its worst -- using a washing horse, instead of reaching up to a washing line (although I needed the washing to be taken out of the machine for me), having everything I needed in the kitchen at bench level (pots, crockery) to save bending over. A bed that was raised to just below hip level - easier to fall into and out of, with a hard mattress. Sleeping with a pillow between my knees. Shoes that I could slip in and out of (no shoelaces - I missed my 12-up Doc Martins!) Laying on my back or sitting on the couch with my legs out - I needed a pillow beneath my knees. Plus all of the other things I mentioned in the article above.

I wish you much luck and hope you find some relief soon! Please keep us updated, especially if you find something that helps you!

Stacy on May 07, 2012:

I have 5 bulging discs, L2-5 and S1. This happened about a year ago, all I did was stand up and I felt a pop in my left butt. I went to the chiro, MD, orthopedic, had xrays and MRI that showed 2 bulging discs. I was sent to pain management, had 4 epidural injections and was put on pain meds. I managed to keep working thru December. I don't know what happened but I was in the worst pain in my life and nothing helps. Even the strongest pain killers don't touch me. I just cry in pain and it never stops. It has literally disabled my life. It's hard to walk, sit, stand, shower, I can't do laundry, run errands, drive, nothing. My son keeps telling me he wants his mom back. My husband is reaching his limit trying to carry everything. I feel useless and don't know where to turn. We are down to one income so I'm afraid to keep trying things to help because co pays and prescriptions are getting really expensive. I heard of The INR in LA (i live in Phx) and they do an ANTI TNF injectionthat seems amazing but they won't give me a price range over the phone. My last MRI was just done 2 weeks ago and it shows tears in the discs, ra in lower spine, inflamation and narrowed canals showing nerve damage, sciatica, and the piformis muscle sharing tight quarters with the sciatic nerve. So when one flares up they both do. Soma can ease it but it comes on so quick and I'm paralyzed until it stops. Then I'm left with the painful aftermath. Kinda like a big earthquake and the days of after shocks. I'm tapering off the oxycontin and discontinuing any narcotics, since they don't help anyway. Is there anyone that can please help me? I'm lost and scared and feeling hopeless. What kind of Dr should I see? Thank you. If you know of a good Dr in Phx AZ pls let me know

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on April 28, 2012:

Thank you for such detailed options. I think you may have helped me with an injury.

Kymberly Fergusson (author) from Germany on April 27, 2012:

pabrah - sciatica doesn't normally cause chest pain -- did you mean back pain? I certainly understand how difficult life events can cause ongoing pain problems (I have quite a few that cause chronic problems).

You might find it useful to see a physiotherapist or osteopath, in addition to getting a checkup with another doctor. A physiotherapist/osteopath can tell you if you are moving (walking/standing/sitting) with incorrect posture, or in a way that can cause pain. Doctors are good for ruling out illnesses that require xrays/MRIs/ultrasounds/blood tests/etc.

I find it useful to keep a list/diary of symptoms and treatments followed (and if they helped the symtoms). It's also useful to give to a doctor/physio, because I *always* forget to tell them something important during the consultation!

Good luck!

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