What is Sciatica?
A Google search defines sciatica as “pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disk.” So essentially, sciatica is the symptom. Pain can vary from feeling like a bad cramp, or the pain can be more severe. According to Cleveland Clinic, the things that can cause sciatica include herniated or slipped disks that put pressure on a nerve root, Piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), or Spondylolisthesis (a slippage of a vertebrae).
Herbs and supplements for Sciatica pain
American skullcap is often taken as an alternative to Advil. It can be effective in minimizing various kinds of pain. It has a few different uses. Research has supported its use for relieving anxious moods in place of anxiolytics, and some take it for the drowsiness it can induce at higher dosages. The role it has in improving mood might also be the method in how it reduces pain.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies on fish oil supplementation have proven effective specifically against rheumatoid arthritis pain. Fish oil is also good for cardiovascular health and the general diminishment of inflammation. Since sciatica is partially the result of inflammation, anything to help reduce the inflammation is recommended.
Turmeric belongs to the ginger family. It is a root that can be ground up to use in tea, or it can be taken as a supplement. According to an article on WebMD, its use as a painkiller is supported by Eva Selhub, MD, a clinical associate at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Valerian, like skullcap, is taken as a relaxant. It is believed to soothe chronic nerve pain and prevent muscle spasms. It is often used in Europe specifically as an antispasmodic. And a double-blind study found that it actually effectively reduced pain in a sample of menstruating students.
Many sufferers of any type of chronic pain will use a topical cream with low concentrations of capsaicin (the component found in chilies and ghost peppers that give them their spice) around 0.025%-0.1%. It has been found to be effective against various neuropathies. It should be duly noted that this cream should not be used on any open wounds. It could create an unpleasant burning sensation on open sores.
While this is not typically a treatment you do yourself at home, you can have an experienced acupuncturist visit your home for treatment. Acupuncture is a Chinese practice that is said to have recorded history of being used for up to 2,000 years. But some argue there is evidence that it has been practiced for the past 4,000 years. The general concept behind acupuncture is to aid the flow of your natural electricity, or what the Chinese called “chi”. The metal in the needles is placed at specific points within the body in order to affect different areas, organs, and muscles. However, acupuncture faces many skeptics. In order to help put some skepticism to rest, a study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine that aimed to observe acupuncture’s effectiveness for the treatment of chronic pain. The researchers performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials for acupuncture and chronic pain. In total, 17,922 patients were analyzed. Those who received acupuncture often had their pain reduced by half or more. It was concluded that acupuncture is definitely a good option. There are some horror stories out there however involving bad practitioners. In the same way that a patient should do their due diligence about a chiropractor’s credentials, the same can be said of acupuncturists. You don’t want just anybody sticking needles in you after all. If they are skilled and know what they’re doing, you’ll barely feel the needles or won’t feel them at all.