I’d never come across sciatica until I was pregnant. It felt like it came on overnight. I just woke up one day and had shooting pains in the back of my leg. I was immediately looking for sciatica pain relief. Power walking and swimming, both exercises I’d been enjoying, were out of the question. It’s not only during pregnancy sciatica can happen though, and it has also cropped up for me again in recent years. When it does, it’s debilitating and frustrating.
I found some sciatica pain relief that helped me cope, particularly when I didn’t want to keep taking over-the-counter meds. Let me tell you about how I found pain relief from sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
If you’re suffering from sciatica, chances are you know this already, so I’ll keep it brief. It is basically caused by the sciatic nerve being irritated or compressed. This is a very long nerve that runs from your back all the way down to your feet.
You’ll know if you have sciatica if your bottom, back of your legs, feet and toes are painful, tingling, numb, or weak. The NHS writes that you might notice the symptoms more when you cough, sneeze, or move.
They say symptoms should ease within 4-6 weeks. However, when you are in pain that 4-6 weeks can feel long. Here are a few sciatica pain relief go-to’s that helped me.
Sciatica pain relief
- Gentle movement
Movement hurt, but I knew sitting down would just make things worse. The body is designed to move! I started some slow short walks, and continued swimming but avoided breaststroke as the pain was triggered by the frog leg action. When walking I really thought about how my foot was hitting the pavement and took care to land on my heel and roll the foot towards the big toe.
- Hot and cold packs
I used microwaveable heat pads when I had a particular flare-up. It works by loosening up tissues and improving blood circulation. I found cold helpful too as this is known to ease inflammation.
I’d have about 10 pillows on the bed. One between my knees for side sleeping, or a few firm pillows under my knees when lying on my back. It gave me some sciatica pain relief.
While I was pregnant I didn’t take CBD. In fact, 5 years ago I don’t think I’d even heard of it! However, since having a flare-up in recently I found that a dose of CBD helped to ease the pain. There is research into CBD for pain relief. Some researchers think that CBD interacts with our own endocannabinoid system and it is our cell’s response with CBD that creates anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects.
- Targeted stretches
For me, tight hamstrings can be a real issue with sciatic nerve pain. I found that stretching the hamstrings gently felt great. Just a simple movement of hands on the hips, keeping the knees soft, and hinging from the hips with a straight back gave the backs of my legs a much-needed stretch.
What didn’t work for me for sciatica pain relief
- Sitting down and doing nothing. It actually made the pain worse.
- Squats and lunges. I avoided my usual exercise classes as these were too painful.
- Too many over the counter meds. I didn’t like taking these too often, that’s not to say I never did, but I didn’t want to rely on them.
Sciatica pain relief
Occasionally I will get a sciatica flare-up, but now I know ways to help relieve the pain. If you are suffering from what you think might be sciatica, chat with your doctor or healthcare provider who will hopefully be able to give you some specific advice.