The sciatic nerve extends from the buttocks down the back of the leg. Pain from a pinched nerve can affect this entire area as well as the feet and toes. There are varying degrees of severity from minor to disabling. Everything from exercise and pain relievers to intense physical therapy and surgery may be necessary to treat sciatic nerve pain.
Heat and Ice
When sciatic nerve pain is first experienced, use an ice pack to treat the pain. Place an ice pack on affected area for 15 minutes two to three times a day for 2 days to reduce inflammation. Next, use a heating pad for the same amount of time as ice for 2 days. Be sure heat setting is on low to medium so you do not run the risk of burning yourself. Another option for heat treatment is to massage the painful area while sitting in a warm bath or hot tub for 15 minutes.
Internal and External Pain Relief
Use a topical pain reliever in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medicine such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Icy Hot and Bengay can be used externally to help circulate blood flow in the affected area. All of these products can be purchased over the counter. If you still experience discomfort, you may want to talk to your doctor about stronger prescription medicines, such as muscle relaxants.
Exercise and Therapy
Gentle exercise can help reduce sciatic nerve pain. Light walking, swimming or bicycling are great ways to increase circulation to the leg area and heal a nerve disturbance. Be sure to stretch muscles for at least 10 minutes before and after exercise. This will prevent further damage. If exercise and stretching do not help or nerve pain is increased, you may need to see a physical therapist. They are trained to assess an individual situation and provide exercises for relief.