How to Treat a Pinched Sciatic Nerve

By Contributor

How to Treat a Pinched Sciatic Nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, running from the base of the spinal cord to the feet. Sometimes a vertebral disk may bulge out of place and pinch the sciatic nerve. This can cause mild or severe throbbing of the back and leg.

Visit your family doctor or orthopedic surgeon.

Take aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve discomfort. Taking two aspirin every day, even when you aren't suffering with sciatic pain, can help prevent pain from recurring.

Place at least one pillow under your knees when you lie down. This helps relieve pressure that the disk is putting on your sciatic nerve.

Rest on a firm mattress or on the floor when sciatic pain is severe. Stay in bed, getting up only when absolutely necessary, for 3 days.

Ask for help to get out of bed or into the bath or shower so you don't strain your back while getting up and down.

Apply hot or cold packs to your back and upper legs. Sometimes ice will work better than heat; at other times, a heating pad will do a better job of relieving pain. Try both to see which one is more effective for you.

Don't lift anything.

Don't bend or sit in soft chairs.

Ask your doctor for prescription pain relievers if severe sciatic pain continues.

Eat a diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables to prevent constipation. Straining to defecate irritates the sciatic nerve.

Tips

If sciatic pain is severe and unrelenting or if you begin having difficulty walking, you may have to consider disk surgery or having a special enzyme injected into the disk to shrink it. Bed rest has not been proven to be beneficial in treating a pinched sciatic nerve, but it has been the standard treatment since the 1930s. Sciatica tends to recur, especially if the bulging disk is not surgically repaired. Pinched nerve should feel better in a few days but can take up to several weeks. Use a weight belt when lifting anything heavy to reduce possibility of re-injury.

Warnings

Never try to "walk off" a pinched nerve. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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