Living with chronic back pain can be a struggle. Constant aching takes its toll on your body, as well as your mind and can be brought on by a number of daily activities, including work, parenting, sports, or even a simple misstep while walking. As a result, Americans collectively spend upwards of $50 billion each year on treatment.
Sciatica nerve pain takes this challenge to another level due to the varying intensity and unpredictability of the pain itself and triggers that cause it. If you or someone you know is living with chronic sciatica pain, this article will provide a few simple, at-home solutions that you can apply immediately.
Sciatica is a type of back pain with a long (and painful!) history. As far back as the 5th century BCE, doctors and sciatica patients have tried a host of imaginative remedies, from leeches (yikes!) and hot coals in Roman times to 20th-century use of creams and injections.
While the symptoms will vary, this type of pain often radiates throughout the thigh and below the knee, causing constant discomfort and sometimes, making it hard to move properly. Worse, people who suffer from sciatica frequently accuse leg pains, numbness or tingling and their legs often feel weak. If you want to learn more about the root of this condition and various symptoms, WedbMD offers an insightful overview of information.
While there are many tools, both within alternative and allopathic care, that can help you navigate and manage sciatic pain, most of them require an outside professional practitioner. Tools such as physical therapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy fall into this category.
But, what if you’re on a limited budget? What if you’re experiencing pain in the middle of the night and cannot run out to get a massage? What if you need to access some immediate relief without having to leave the comfort of your own home?
(1) Bed of Nails
One tool that can provide immediate relief is the modern day Bed of Nails or your favorite acupressure mat.
The Bed of Nails (BON) is a therapeutic acupressure mat designed to naturally relieve pain. Even better, the BON mat can have amazing effects if used as a part of a sciatica treatment. Because BON helps to increase circulation in the body, it also counteracts elevated inflammation levels causing pain.
There are no contraindications regarding the length of use of the BON mat, and it can be used for as long as you please. People struggling with sciatica or general back pain often prefer to lay on their BON mat right before sleep or right after waking up. Others use it only when they experience legs, back or thigh pain, during the day.
Keep in mind that although a slight discomfort might be felt at first, it typically goes away in a matter of minutes as your muscles begin to relax and adapt to the sensation.
Generally speaking, if tight piriformis, glutes, and hamstrings are the cause, yoga postures that stretch out the back side of the body are recommended. With something like hip instability or lower back problem at the root of the sciatic pain, strengthening poses might be more beneficial. Commonly recommended is wide-legged forward bend pose, otherwise known as Prasarita Padottanasana, as well as legs-up-the-wall pose. Even simpler, stretching the front thigh (by folding your leg behind you by pushing your foot to your buttocks) and the back of your leg (y putting your heel in front of you while folding down in a straight angle) is also helpful for keeping the back in check.
This may go without saying, but making sure to sit down LESS (less frequently or for shorter periods of time) and instead move the body MORE often will definitely support a healthy back and spine.
(3) Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The sensation of pain stems from elevated inflammation in the body. To combat this inflammation and support your odds of feeling better more quickly using dietary tools, make sure to eat a nutrient-dense healing diet that is low in sugar and high in antioxidants, avoid smoking/using recreational drugs, and get good sleep. (side note: Sometimes people that suffer from sciatica pain also have trouble sleeping. The Bed of Nails mat has shown to improve sleep and minimize pain!)
Back pain is something many people deal with at one point or another in their lives, and sometimes that may come in the form of sciatic nerve pain. Specific treatment approaches for sciatica always depend on what’s causing the nerve anatomy damage to begin with, so seeing a professional is worthwhile. In the meantime, the Bed of Nails can provide you with consistent and reliable relief from acute tension and tightness often associated with this type of condition.