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84 Burnett St Bundaberg

Could You Have Sciatica? Here’s How To Help Relieve It

sciatica

Sharp, shooting pains down your lower back, hip or leg? Or maybe burning, tingling or numb sensations around these areas? These are all potential signs of sciatica, or pain caused by the sciatic nerve. 

Sciatica can range from irritating to absolute agony. But you don’t just have to put up with the pain – there are ways to address the causes and relieve your symptoms. 

What is sciatica? 

Sciatica is a type of nerve pain that is caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve extends from the lower back down the back of each of your legs.  

As the nerve is so long – reaching all the way down to the foot – the pain can be experienced anywhere along it. Some people will only have pain in one area, and others will have pain, burning, tingling and/or numbness the whole way through. 

Sciatica is incredibly common, with estimates of 10-40% of people experiencing it at some point in their lifetime. 

What causes sciatica? 

Like any health concern, there are many potential underlying causes of sciatica. Some of the most common include: 

  • A bulging or ruptured disc 
  • Trauma to the lower back or leg such as a car accident or fall 
  • Piriformis syndrome – when a muscle near the sciatic nerve spasms and can trap the nerve 
  • Pregnancy 

There are also multiple contributing factors that could increase your risk if you are already vulnerable, such as: 

  • Sitting too much & having a sedentary lifestyle 
  • Wearing ill-fitting clothes or high heel shoes 
  • Carrying bulky items such as your wallet or phone in your back pocket 
  • High level of stress 
  • Nerve damage from diabetes 
  • Obesity 

Sometimes, sciatica can be acute, lasting for just a few weeks. But if it lasts for longer or if it begins to interfere with your everyday life, it’s time to take action and seek some help. 

How can I relieve my sciatica? 

Struggling with sciatic nerve pain? There are ways to alleviate the pain naturally. Here are our top tips to help you feel better again. 

1. Identify potential causes and contributing factors 

It’s always best to find out what is behind your sciatica. That way, you can make lifestyle adjustments to reduce your risk of pain. For example, you might need to switch to flat shoes more often or seek professional help to treat piriformis syndrome. 

2. Focus on stress management 

Stress and pain are very closely linked, particularly within the nervous system. In fact, high stress can even increase your experience of pain.  

Chronic stress can also put you at risk of developing chronic pain, meaning that even once the original cause of sciatica is treated, your nervous system could continue to echo that pain. 

Looking for some actionable steps to manage your stress levels? Make sure you give this article a read. 

3. Work on your mobility 

As the cause of sciatica can vary, it’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all recommendation for stretching and strengthening exercises. However, you can look to what areas are tight and not moving, and gently stretch them out as a starting point.  

For people with sciatica, the lower back and hips are often tight. Stretches that rotate the hip outwards can help to increase mobility in these areas. Pigeon poses (common in yoga practices) and gentle spinal twists can be useful additions to your daily movement.  

When stretching, make sure you only stretch gently, and never to the point of sharp pain. Of course, the best course of action is to get stretches and mobility exercises prescribed by a qualified health practitioner who can assess the causes and tailor the movements to your current mobility level. 

4. Maintain good habits for pain relief 

Did you know that many of your diet and lifestyle choices can either exacerbate or relieve pain, including sciatic pain? This is where it’s important to stick to healthy habits that reduce your experience of pain. 

How you move your body, your sleep pattern and your inflammation levels can make a massive difference in your pain levels – even before treating the direct cause of pain. To learn more about how to relieve your pain with healthy habits

5. Get manual therapy treatments 

Some of the greatest relief can come from manual therapy treatments such as massage and acupuncture. This is because the root causes can be uncovered, but you’re also likely to experience some relief of symptoms on the spot when muscle tension is reduced.  

Massage is a common option for people with sciatica. Getting a deep tissue massage could be as effective as anti-inflammatory medications for relieving lower back pain, which is common in sciatica. 

Research suggests that acupuncture may be more effective than pain relief medication for alleviating sciatic pain, and it may also enhance the effect of pain relief medication. One review found that it was more effective in relieving clinical symptoms, pain intensity and pain threshold compared to conventional pain relief methods such as oral medication, topical creams and injections. At Burnett House, our acupuncturist Jamie combines remedial massage, dry needling and acupuncture to relieve pain and stress naturally. He will assess potential underlying causes of your sciatica and help tailor your management plan to tackle these factors directly. 

To book an appointment with Jamie at our Bundaberg clinic, book an appointment online here or call us on (07) 41522372 

© 2019 by Burnett House
84 Burnett St
Bundaberg South QLD 4670
ABN: 88 973 250 774
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