Lower back pain has been something I have been dealing with for a long time. Back in middle school, I was diagnosed with moderate scoliosis, which is an unnatural curvature of the spine.
I was given a back brace that I was assigned to wear for 16 hours per day for two years.
Doctors told me that if I wore it as I was told, regularly and consistently, I would be able to avoid back surgery.
I listened, to a tee. It was not easy, especially on hot, summer days.
Each day, I stayed after school for chorus practice. Towards the end of the day, my friend Emily would come with me to the nurse’s office to put on my back brace for me. I wore it around school and hid it under my clothes.
Believe it or not, no one made fun of me. At least to my face.
People thought it was cool and nicknamed me ‘thunder abs.’ (The brace wrapped around my stomach, from the breast bone to the groin.)
The back brace worked and actually reversed some of the damage.
I was one of the lucky few who had been lucky enough to avoid surgery. I still remember the day I threw that dang thing out in the garbage.
It was a great day!
Still, though, my pediatrician advised I would likely need to have a cesarian if I should ever have kids. But I didn’t want that after learning about the immune-boosting benefits of vaginal birth at university.
So I worked to maintain my back health. (Obviously, that was only one of the reasons.)
Managing Sciatica Pain
Sciatic pain is a common condition that affects millions of Americans each year. Sciatica pain treatment at home is tricky. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and it runs from the lower back all the way down to the feet. When this nerve becomes compressed or irritated, it can cause pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs. Symptoms can range from mild to severe
While there is no sure-fire cure for sciatica, there are a number of things that can be done to manage the pain and improve your quality of life.
Maintaining Posture — Use a Back Brace
First and foremost, it is important to maintain good posture and alignment. This can help to take pressure off of the sciatic nerve and prevent further irritation.
Obviously, it can be difficult to keep your attention on posture throughout your day-to-day. My mom and I use a simple back brace that keeps your shoulders back and prevents you from hunching over.
On long work days where I faced discomfort, I actually wore it over my clothes. I literally didn’t care what I looked like because it provided that much relief.
While the current back brace we are using is wearing out (the velcro stopped sticking and we use safety pins,) it is not one I would recommend. I would love some recs if you have any!
Stretching + Yoga
Additionally, gentle stretches and exercises can help to strengthen the muscles around the nerve and reduce inflammation.
While there are many potential causes of sciatic pain, one of the most effective treatments is stretching. It’s important to do this regularly, as more of a preventative method.
Even five minutes per day makes a huge difference. Trust me. By gently stretching the muscles and tissues around the sciatic nerve, you can help to relieve pressure and pain.
Here are five stretches that can help to treat sciatic pain:
- Hamstring Stretch: Lie on your back with both legs extended in front of you. Slowly bend one knee and bring your heel towards your glutes. Keep your other leg straight as you reach for your ankle with both hands. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds before repeating it on the other side.
- Pilates hamstring stretch with resistance bands: Lie flat on your back. Slowly bring one leg up and flex towards the ceiling. Place resistant band or towel) in the middle of your foot and pull gently. Repeat on another leg.
- Piriformis Stretch: Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a hand on your thigh and slowly bring your knee across your body towards your opposite shoulder. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds before repeating it on the other side.
- In a standing position, outstretch your leg on a hip-level surface. Reach forward with both arms and place your head looking down. Breathe deeply into the stretch. Repeat on another leg.
- Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall with both hands
Also, I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene on Youtube. I have written about her a number of times because she has helped me tremendously over the years. She offers specific videos for all types of back pain, including sciatica. Adriene is the best virtual instructor that I’ve ever seen. One whom I was blessed to meet in person!
- Chiropractic Care
I have been visiting my chiropractor for over three years on and off (Covid and life), but mostly weekly. From electric stimulation to the adjustment, my experience is always wonderful. My chiropractor always adjusts my neck because I hold a lot of tension there from typing all day. Many insurances cover chiro care, at least partially, especially when you have a condition.
Another popular method of treating back pain is massage therapy. Massage can help to loosen tight muscles and improve circulation, providing relief from discomfort. Massage is always something that personally helps me get stubborn knots out. While they can be expensive, they are usually worth it. They really help to ‘reset’ my back when I need it.
Another popular treatment option is acupuncture. This traditional Chinese therapy involves the placement of thin needles at strategic points on the body. Acupuncture is thought to help relieve pain by stimulating the nervous system and releasing endorphins. If you are struggling with back pain, talk to your doctor about these and other treatment options to find the best solution for you.
- Natural Remedies
I use something called a Shakti Mat. It is a mat with plastic spindles sticking out with emulates the feeling of acupuncture. It is advised to use it with a bareback for twenty minutes per day. While I don’t use it every day, I tend to use it as a quick fix for when I’m having pain. It is amazing! Despite the initial discomfort, I have actually fallen asleep on the mat. It is one of the best things I have ever purchased and I highly recommend it for anyone who struggles with back pain. When my friends come over, they always want to borrow it! Here’s what the contraption looks like. Unfortunately, I don’t have an affiliate link, but I do recommend this company.
Back pain is a common issue that can impact people of all ages. There are many different causes of back pain, but fortunately, there are also a number of effective treatments.
By following these simple tips, most people with sciatica can find significant relief from their symptoms.
How do you cope with back pain?
Originally published at byrslf.co , featured image from Rheumatology vector created by storyset – www.freepik.com