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Sciatica (cont.)

Sciatica Home Remedies for Pain Relief

Pain from sciatica often limits one's activities. Here are some home treatments for sciatica:

  • Do not bend, lift, or sit in a soft, low chair; the pain will get worse.
  • Unless someone is allergic or should not take them for other reasons (if someone takes a blood thinner such as Coumadin, for example), over-the-counter pain medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin (Bufferin or Bayer Aspirin), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) will probably help ease the pain.
  • Try a cold pack to see if it helps the pain. If someone doesn't have a cold pack, use a large bag of frozen vegetables; it makes a good first aid cold pack. Or have someone massage the sore areas in a triangular pattern with an ice cube. The person should move the ice cube if the skin gets too cold (this may melt several ice cubes).
    • After the cold massages, try alternating with heat from an electric heating pad to see if it helps the pain. (Do not sleep with a heating pad on the back. It could cause a bad burn.)
    • If someone doesn't have an electric heating pad, put a hand towel under hot water, wring it out, and place it on the back. Some physical therapy experts believe that moist heat penetrates more deeply and gives better relief of pain. (Do not use wet packs with an electric heating pad because electrical shock may result.)
  • The affected individual may feel better lying on his or her back on a firm surface with a pillow under his or her knees. Another option is lying on one's side with a pillow between the knees to keep the back straight. Also, one might find that a recliner chair is helpful.
  • Take it easy, but do not lie in bed for longer than two days because this has been shown to actually worsen the condition. Do activities one is able to tolerate, and do not expect to feel better overnight.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2015

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