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How to Unpinch a Sciatic Nerve

By Hannah Rice Myers ; Updated August 14, 2017

Sciatica describes symptoms of leg pain that may include tingling, weakness and numbness in the lower back. One of the causes is piriformis syndrome, a condition resulting in a pinched sciatic nerve. For most people, sciatica gets better on its own within a few weeks or months, according to Spine-Universe. During that time, you can take steps to relieve the pain and discomfort you experience.

  1. Visit a chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained health professionals who can perform manual manipulation, a treatment that aligns the spinal column and may help relieve your pain, as Spine-Health explains. It also provides a better healing environment for the pinched nerve.

  2. Make an appointment with a physical therapist. The initial phases of physical therapy help relieve your pain. The therapist may begin with applying hot and cold packs to the area to help relieve the inflammation around the nerve while increasing blood flow to the site to expedite healing. She will then devise exercises to strengthen your back muscles and improve your flexibility, according to MayoClinic.com.

  3. Speak to your doctor about epidural steroid injections. Depending on the severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend injections to relieve inflammation around the nerve, thus relieving pain. These injections are not a long-term solution, and do not work for everyone. If they work for you, the effects can last from one week to one year. The course of injections vary for everyone; your doctor determines this course for you.

  4. Take a trip to the massage therapist. Spine-Health explains that some forms of massage therapy have a number of benefits for back pain, including muscle relaxation, an increase in blood flow and a release of the body's natural pain killers--endorphins. Before making an appointment, be sure the therapist has experience in back pain and injuries. This may prevent a worsening of your injury.

  5. Speak to your doctor about surgery. Surgery is typically a last resort, and is only something you should consider if you have a loss of bowel or bladder control, significant weakness or pain that doesn't improve with your other therapies. The goal of surgery is to leave as much of the normal anatomy in place as possible while removing the portion of the disk that is pinching the nerve.

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