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Help for Your Sciatica

Help for Your Sciatica

You move in a certain way, and you’re met with sharp pain in your lower back. Perhaps this pain is even traveling down one of your legs, making the problem even more uncomfortable. If these symptoms sound familiar, the odds are likely that you have sciatica.

At Pain Center of NJ, Dr. Ira Siegel and our team of pain-relief experts are familiar with the side effects of sciatica, and we routinely help patients weather this, usually, temporary form of back pain.

Although there’s much we can do on our end, you can also take steps to relieve your sciatica symptoms. In the following, we review both sides of a successful sciatica treatment plan.

Understanding sciatica

Before we get into your treatment recommendations for sciatica, it’s helpful to fully understand what you’re up against. Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, and it originates in your lower back. From there, the nerve splits into two, traveling down each side of your buttocks and into your legs, stopping at your feet.

When you have a problem in your lower back, such as a herniated disc, this nerve can become irritated or compressed, which is what leads to the symptoms of sciatica. These symptoms include:

When your sciatic nerve is compromised, the symptoms can stretch along the full length of the nerve.

Treating sciatica

The good news is that, with the right treatment plan, your sciatica should improve in four to six weeks. In most cases, we recommend the following to begin your treatment, and the sooner you implement these practices, the faster you may recover:

If your sciatica doesn't respond to these conservative treatments, we can turn to corticosteroid injections, which help to reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain. Our goal with these types of injections is to make you comfortable enough to engage in certain stretching exercises, which we review next.

Treating sciatica at home

As mentioned earlier, we can do our part to remedy the symptoms of sciatica, but it’s also important that you do yours. One of the most effective treatments for sciatica is stretching, which helps to take the pressure off the irritated nerve.

Some good examples of stretches that target sciatica include:

Hamstring stretches

Place one foot about three feet in front of the other, and slowly bend over your front leg. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds (please use a chair if you’re having trouble balancing). This scissor stretch will work on the muscles in the back of your thighs and in your back. Repeat the exercise after switching your legs.

Sciatic nerve glide

To directly address your sciatic nerve, sit at the end of a chair, and raise one leg out in front of you so that it’s parallel to the floor (making sure to keep your other leg bent and your foot flat on the floor). Flex your toes and foot back toward your body and then point them. Repeat this exercise several times on the side of your body that’s experiencing sciatica symptoms.

Reclining pigeon pose

Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Take the ankle of your left foot and place it across the front of your right knee. Now, lace your fingers behind your right thigh and gently pull your thigh toward your body and hold. Switch legs once you’re finished.

We’re happy to provide you with additional exercises, but these are a great place to start.

If you’re sidelined because of sciatica, please contact one of our locations in West Orange, Bayonne, Union City, Ridgefield, Edison, or Union, New Jersey, so that we can get you on the road to relief.

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