How to Heal a Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body that runs from your lower back to the back of your foot. Sciatica is a description of symptoms associated with an irritated sciatic nerve. These symptoms include pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the leg, according to Medline Plus. Sciatic is caused by piriformis syndrome, a slipped disk, degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, pelvic injury or fractures and tumors. Most sciatic nerve problems are healed with conservative treatments; however, surgery may be necessary in some cases. Follow some guidelines to heal your sciatic nerve.

Use proper posture when sitting.
Credit: endopack/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Talk with your doctor to determine the cause of your sciatic nerve problem.

Step 2

Rest for no more than 2 days if you are having a sciatic nerve problem. Avoid prolonged bed rest because this can make the condition worse.

Step 3

Apply an ice pack to the area that is causing you discomfort. Place the ice pack on the painful area for 20 minutes and then remove it from the area for 20 minutes. Repeat this process several times a day as possible.

Step 4

Apply heat to the painful areas 48 hours after the onset of pain. Alternate cold and warm packs and repeat this cycle as often as possible.

Step 5

Stretch your lower legs and your lower back to help relieve nerve root compression and the resulting pain, recommends the Mayo Clinic. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and avoid bouncing, twisting and excessive stretching. Follow the stretching exercises recommended by your doctor or physical therapist.

Step 6

Take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and inflammation along the sciatic nerve. Ask your doctor about prescription anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants or anticonvulsant drugs that are used to ease chronic pain, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

Step 7

Consider an epidural steroid injection which can reduce pain and inflammation associated with your sciatic nerve problem. Discuss possible risks, complications and expected outcomes of this procedure.

Step 8

Perform regular exercise. Start with low-impact exercises such as biking, swimming or water aerobics. Walk three to five times a week if you can tolerate this activity.

Step 9

Practice sitting and standing with proper posture if your sciatic nerve problem originates in your back.

Step 10

Discuss surgical options if these conservative treatments are not providing any relief.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice pack

  • Heat pack

Tips

Seek immediate medical treatment if your sciatic nerve problem is severe or sudden.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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