Radiating pain relegated to one leg or accompanied by discomfort extending to the thighs, buttocks, or hips may be linked to the sciatic nerve. The longest single nerve in the human body, it can also be a source of frequent flare-ups, depending on the level of inflammation. Periods of pain from chronic sciatica can usually be managed by knowing what actions to take to ease the irritation. The staff at The Spine Institute in Santa Monica has a few simple suggestions for alleviating chronic sciatica.
1. Cold Therapy
Cold packs applied to the affected area can be a convenient source of relief when flare-ups occur. Cold can also be applied to the affected area with an ice pack or cooling gel. Heat and topical analgesics work in a similar way by reducing the inflammation of tissues located near the sciatic nerve.
2. Foot Rest
While not an official therapeutic aid, a footrest may provide relief for people with chronic sciatica by placing the knees at an angle that promotes good circulation. The change in position may also take pressure off the affected part of the nerve. On a related note, paying attention to posture while sitting and standing also takes pressure off the area where sciatic nerve pain originates from, usually in the lower back.
3. Comfortable Shoes
Lower back and leg pain is sometimes caused by added pressure on the feet and ankles. Wearing comfortable shoes also provides an incentive to get regular exercise to strengthen muscles in the lower back. If frequent walking is too demanding, try water-based exercises or low-impact aerobics. An elliptical machine may provide similar results.
Even with sciatica’s unpredictability, making an effort to soothe the affected area of the nerve may help manage its symptoms. Some patients also report positive results from eating foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties, such as berries and fatty fish like salmon. Check with your doctor or a board-certified spine surgeon in Santa Monica before making any changes to your diet or exercise habits.
For additional solutions to help alleviate sciatica, get in touch with The Spine Institute Center today. Dr. Hyun Bae is a trusted expert in minimally invasive spine surgery. Santa Monica patients claim Dr. Bae has helped them begin living a pain-free life. Call 310-828-7757 to find out how we can help you.