Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy in medical terms, is the pain associated with the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in our body. The pain usually originates in the pelvis and moves downwards to the feet through the buttocks and legs. The most common root cause of sciatica is herniated disk (also known as slipped disk). Other causes are spinal trauma (lifting, car accident), piriformis syndrome, pregnancy, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. One may feel the pain associated with sciatica on one side of the body only, and it will be more like a burning sensation as opposed to a throbbing pain. You may also feel numbness, weakness, or difficulty in moving the foot or leg. There are numerous home remedies which you can try to get rid of shooting pain of sciatica.
Home Remedies for Curing Sciatica
1. Heat Therapy
This therapy combats sciatica pain caused due to compression in nerves and muscles in the winter season. Soak a towel in warm water and place it on the affected area. Alternatively, use a hot water bottle to ease the discomfort.
2. Cold Therapy
If the sciatica pain is accompanied by inflammation, go for cold therapy. Wrap some ice cubes in a cloth and place it on the affected area. It reduces the flow of blood towards the aching area, thereby, provides an instant relief.
Get ample rest by lying on a flat surface and putting a soft pillow underneath your knees. After 2 hours, change the position and sleep on your side. Make sure you keep your back straight by placing a pillow between your legs.
4. Massage Therapy
Apply some pain relieving cream made from menthol and capsaicin on the sore area, and massage it onto the skin for instant respite. Vibrating machines are also ideal for sciatic pain massage.
5. Spinal Decompression
Try doing the spinal decompression exercise. Stand with your feet at a shoulder length apart. Now raise your hands above your head, making sure that your biceps are in line with your ear. This will help you stretch your upper back. Next, tilt your pelvis forward slightly to straighten out your lower back. Now bend down slowly. Move in the upward direction in the same way. Repeat this 9 times.
6. Inversion Table
Daily use of inversion table can reduce your sciatica pain very quickly. This is the best treatment for those who don’t want to undergo surgery.
7. Eat a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet helps your body heal faster. Juices of citrus fruits (like lemon and orange) improve the immune system and reduce the inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Also, include fiber-rich foods in your diet to avoid constipation as it can make sciatica worse.
8. Stretching Exercises and Yoga
Seating for a long time can damage your sciatic nerve. Therefore, you must perform some stretching exercises every 3 to 4 hours if possible. Begin with some basic stretches that will reduce the pressure on the nerve. Learn some gentle yoga ‘asana’ to get rid of sciatica pain.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day so as to remain hydrated and help reduce medical conditions like constipation.
10. Infrared Light
Infrared mats help relieve any form of back pain. Simply plug in your mat to an electric source and lie down flat on the mat. The infrared light will work on the nerve and make you feel relaxed.
Believe it or not, grapes have anti-inflammatory content that can reduce the pain related to sciatica.
Soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Strain the water in the morning, and drink it on an empty stomach.
Garlic can cure sciatica; consume it in any form- raw or cooked. Add 4 cloves of garlic to a glass of boiling milk and drink it.
14. Nutmeg Powder
Roast some nutmeg powder in a tablespoon of ginger oil. Let the mixture cool a little and then apply it onto the affected areas.
15. Mustard Oil
Heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil and add three crushed cloves of garlic and carom seeds to it. Allow the oil to cool down and then massage it onto the affected area.
Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicine where the practitioner will insert needles in your skin. Warming acupuncture (in which needles are heated before inserting in your skin) can alleviate the symptoms of sciatica. Be sure to take acupuncture from a licensed practitioner.
Herbal Remedies for Treating Sciatica at Home
All the parts of this plant, i.e., fruit, leaves and flowers are of great use. Their muscle relaxing properties reduce pressure on the ends of the nerves. For the best results, drink a glass of elderberry juice at least 2 times a day.
18. Black Snakeroot
Heat 1 cup of water and add ½ tablespoon of dried black snakeroots to it. Set it aside for 15 minutes and then drink 2 tablespoons at least thrice a day.
19. Burdock Root
Burdock roots are of great help when it comes to sciatica. It is one of the best natural treatments for this disorder.
Celery consists of a compound known as coumarin which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Boil one glass of water, and add leaves and stems to it. Boil till the water turns green. Drink 3 cups of this tea daily.
21. Dong Quai
Drink a mixture of water and dong quai to cure sciatica in a natural way.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric relieve lower back pain, swelling and muscle spasms resulted due to sciatica. For quick results, consume 300 mg of turmeric thrice a day. It is also available in the form of tablets and capsules.
23. Potato Juice
Grate a raw potato and extract its juice. Mix this juice with some carrot juice and drink it 2 times a day. It will reduce the irritation of the sciatic nerve and assist in the movement of the foot and leg.
24. Epsom Salt
Fill hot water in your bathtub. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to it. Soak yourself in this water for ½ an hour daily to relax the muscles and soothe the pain.
Massage the affected area with chamomile oil three times a day.
26. Devil’s Claw
This herb can be used to ease the sciatica symptoms such as numbness, radiating pain and lower back pain. You can consume it in the form of tea, tincture, tablet or capsule.
27. St. John’s Wort
The sedative and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb calm the irritated nerves, thus, provide you relief.
28. Wintergreen Oil
Wintergreen oil is readily available in herbal shops. Massage the affected area with this oil.
Make a paste by mincing some horseradish. Warm it slightly and massage the painful area. Wrap the area with a clean cloth and let the paste sit for 2 hours. Alternatively, squeeze the juice from grated horseradish. Warm it and add some honey to it. Drink 2 teaspoons of this juice, thrice a day.
30. Jamaican Dogwood
This herb can be applied as tincture or taken in the form of a capsule to alleviate sciatic nerve pain.
Note- This remedy is not recommended for lactating or pregnant women.
- If you are overweight, consider reducing your weight so that less pressure is exerted on your lower back while walking or seating.
- Replace the soft mattress with a firm mattress.
- Maintain a good posture when you sit, stand, sleep or stretch.
- While carrying luggage or shopping bags, evenly distribute the weight on either side of your body.
- Do not push and lift heavy objects.
- Avoid leaning sideways or twisting your back.