The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, exiting the lower back and running down the leg to the toes. Sciatic nerve pain in the back and legs is usually described as burning, radiating, or dull and throbbing. It is a symptom and not a disorder, so the pain signals another problem in the lower back, such as a herniated disc. Depending on the cause, it may resolve on its own within a couple of months; home treatments can speed the process and relieve the pain.
According to MayoClinic.com, over-the-counter pain relievers can provide some real relief from sciatic nerve pain. However, there is a limit to how much pain can be controlled. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can cause side effects such as nausea, stomach bleeding or ulcers. Individuals using over-the-counter medications to treat pain should work with their physician to monitor their pain and bodily response the medication.
Heat and Ice
According to Sciatica-Pain.org, individuals can use heat and ice as temporary pain relief from sciatic pain. Cold packs should be used initially to reduce inflammation and relieve the discomfort. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a clean towel can be used for 20 minutes several times a day, and then re-frozen. After two or three days, heat should be applied to increase the circulation and reduce inflammation. Individuals may prefer to use hot patches, heating pads or heat lamps. If sufficient relief is not found from heat alone, individuals may attempt to alternate cold and ice.
It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise will do a better job in relieving sciatic pain than will bed rest, according to Spine-Health.com. Inactivity will usually make the pain worse because the muscles become de-conditioned and less able to support the back. This adds additional strain and stress to the area. Specific exercises should be tailored to address the underlying reason of sciatic pain. However, most individuals will benefit from stretching exercises that will relieve tight muscles in the lower back. Hamstring stretches, core muscle strengthening and lower back stretches will all help to relieve the pain when done correctly. When exercises are done without proper form, they are relatively ineffective and can possibly lead to increased pain.
According to MedlinePlus, individuals can also change their sleeping position to relieve the stress on the lower back and increase the amount of stretch they receive. While sleeping, patients are advised to lie in a curled fetal position with a pillow between the legs. This position reduces stress on the lower back while keeping the hips in the correct alignment. Individuals who enjoy sleeping on their back can place a pillow or rolled towel under the knees to reduce pressure on the lower back.
According to NaturalNews.com, celery juice is a natural anti-inflammatory. Juicing the vegetable is the most efficient and nutritious way to eat celery, and it should be drunk within 20 minutes of fresh juicing. Celery juice is a good adjunct therapy to sleeping correctly, heat and ice, and stretching exercises. This combination will help to reduce the inflammation at the nerve root, and decrease pain and discomfort.