19 Natural Home Remedies For Sciatica Pain Relief

updated: 06/30/2019

The term sciatica mentions to symptoms of leg pain, such as numbness, tingling, or weakness, which originate in the lower back and go through the buttock and down large sciatic nerve in the back of legs. If you or your family members are suffering from sciatica, you may want to know how to get rid of sciatica pain effectively and safely. Fortunately, this article will show you the best natural home remedies for sciatica effectively. However, before getting to know such natural methods, you had better get a general understanding of this condition. Take a look!

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a medical condition which is tingling, pain or numbness created by irritation of nerve roots which result in sciatic nerve. This sciatica nerve is created by the nerve roots that come out of the spinal cord into the lower back. Then, it travels down via the buttock, extending its branches down the back of the affected leg to the foot and ankle.

It is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Common lower back issues that could result in sciatica symptoms include degenerative disc disease, a lumbar herniated disc, spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms Of Sciatica?

Oftentimes, sciatica is featured by the following symptoms:

  • Constant pain in just one side of the buttock or leg and move down into your foot
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in the legs
  • Leg pain described as burning or searing
  • Difficulty in moving the foot, leg and/or toes
  • A fierce pain making it hard to walk or stand up
  • Pain radiating down the leg and possibly into the toes and foot

Sciatica pain could vary from irritating and infrequent to constant and incapacitating. The symptoms are often based on the site of the pinched nerve.

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Whilst the symptoms of sciatica could be potentially debilitating and painful, permanent damage of sciatic nerve is rarely resulted, and spinal cord involvement can happen but rare.

Causes Of Sciatica?

Sciatica happens as the sciatic nerve turns into pinched, often by a herniated disk within your spine or by an over the development of bone (aka bone spur) on the vertebrae. Rarely, the nerve could be compressed by a certain tumor or ruined by a disease like diabetes.

What Are Risk Factors?

The risk factors of sciatica are:

  • Age: Age-related changes within the spine such as herniated disks, bone spurs, are common causes of this condition.
  • Occupation: If you have a job requiring you to twist your back or if you have to carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle regularly for long periods of time, then you may be prone to suffering from sciatica, despite there is no conclusive evidence of this connection.
  • Diabetes: Sciatica affects the way that your own body uses blood sugar level, therefore increasing your potential risk of nerve damage.
  • Prolonged Sitting: People who have to sit for long periods of time or have a sedentary lifestyle seem to be prone to have sciatica than those who are active.
  • Obesity: Obesity means that more stress is put on your spine, contributing to the spinal changes triggering sciatica.
  • Pregnancy, pelvic tumors, smoking, piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis may also cause sciatica.

When To See A Doctor?

Mild condition of sciatica often disappears over time. You had better call your professional healthcare or doctor in case self-care measures cannot help you ease your symptoms or if your pain and discomfort last longer than one week, becomes worse progressively or is severe.

Also, you should get instant medical care in case:

  • You have severe, sudden pain in the low back or leg, and muscle weakness or numbness in the leg.
  • Pain follows a violent injury, like a traffic accident.
  • Difficulty in controlling or bladder or bowels.

How Long Does Sciatica Last?

The duration of this condition is dependent on its cause. A back sprain, disc herniation, shingles, and degenerative lumbar spine could also result in temporary forms of this condition, lasting from a few days to a few weeks. Sometimes the degeneration of lumbar spine along with discs could lead to chronic sciatica persisting if a surgical intervention is not executed.

Now, if you ever wake up feeling agonizing pain the way from your upper thighs to your feet, then it is advisable for you to apply some of the methods introduced below before considering any surgery. Now let’s check out what the best natural home remedies for sciatica pain are!

Top 19 Effective Home Remedies For Sciatica Pain Relief

1. Yoga And Stretching

home remedies for sciatica

Moving in specific ways could seriously aggravate your pain associated with sciatica, but in certain cases, it could help relieve the pain. Some individuals find that standing, sitting for a long time or moving abruptly may trigger the pain. The kinds of movements which tend to worsen the pain involve shortening or scrunching the spine, like bringing knees towards the chest or squatting, or raising legs up.

On the other hand, lengthening the spine through yoga or stretching or laying down could help improve good posture while decreasing stiffness, pain, and inflammation in a big way.

In accordance with studies, it is found that yoga is effective and safe for sciatica sufferers[1] [2]. Some important movements for sciatica pain prevention target the back, thereby building strength and relaxing the stiff regions.

Even, exercises to prevent lower back pain and strengthen the core are used in rehabilitation settings for patients with sciatic pain following surgery.

You can perform a reclining pigeon pose that targets piriformis muscle, thereby helping prevent pressure against the sciatic nerve and inflammation.

2. Acupuncture And Massage Therapy

When it comes to home remedies for sciatica, acupuncture is really effective[3] [4]. Acupuncture is a kind of traditional Chinese medicine practice which is based on maintaining or achieving better health by opening the natural energy flow of the human body. It often uses virtually pain-free, tiny needles to help target specific pathways within the body. The FDA has proven this as a treatment for back pain. This method is supported by different studies for relieving different kinds of chronic pain, including sciatica.

Similarly, massage and Rolfing therapy are two other holistic, nonsurgical approaches which open tissues, muscles, and channels of energy in the body, thereby boosting the blood flow and fighting pain. Massage therapy is accompanied with alleviation in back pain, a release of the natural “Feel good” chemicals called endorphins acting as pain relievers, and muscle relaxation[5].

3. Get Moving And Exercise

If you sit for many hours, like watching TV during spare time or working at a desk, it makes your problem worse in regard to back pain or bulging discs. A lot of plans for sciatica treatment call for extra movement, in addition to targeted exercises to help loosen up the inflamed areas[6]. You had better include light isometric exercises or specific stretches in your daily exercise regime to relieve pain within the spine and legs whilst boosting your strength[7] [8] [9]. If you sciatica symptoms re-emerge or get worse, you could practice some exercises or stretches at home without the consultation of a doctor.

Start by alternate periods of lying down or sitting with short walks. Steps more each day, get a pedometer or fitness tracker that could make you more active and boost your distance of walking. When being at home, lengthen your spine to improve your posture.

You can also practice some low-impact aerobic exercise. Some forms of low-impact cardiovascular exercise, like swimming, walking, or pool therapy is often a component of recovery, because aerobic activity promotes the exchange of nutrients and fluid to help create a better environment for healing.

Besides, aerobic has a unique benefit of releasing the “happy hormones” called endorphins, which is also considered the natural pain killers, helping alleviate sciatic pain[10].

For any person with chronic pain, they can choose water therapy, which is a progressive, controlled exercise program carried out in a warm pool.

4. Turmeric

home remedies for sciatica

One of the must-try home remedies for sciatica is turmeric which has anti-inflammatory properties. This plant has a compound called curcumin helping in reducing inflammation and nerve pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties[11] [12] [13].

You can add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to a cup of milk. Add a small stick of cinnamon and boil up the solution. Add some honey to sweeten this drink. Have this solution 1-2 times per day until you notice improvement.

You can also take 250-500 mg turmeric supplements thrice per day for a few weeks. But, for the best results, consult your doctor in advance.

Alternatively, you can ingest it as a tea, use it in daily cooking, or even apply it topically in a paste to take the most advantage of it.

Warning: Those people taking diabetes or blood thinners medications should avoid turmeric. The same goes for people with gallstones.

5. Heating Pads 

It is found that many people report relief from the pain associated with sciatica by using inexpensive heating pads which are set on a medium or low setting, placed on the lower back for 15-20 minutes daily[14]. Practice this routine a few times per day, for 2-3 hours.

A similar approach which can work well for relieving your pain in sciatic nerves is to take warm baths. It is because heat can loosen up the tight muscles and increase circulation. The best manner to apply heat to your affected area is buying a reusable which either requires to be plugged in or hot water, but you could also purchase single-use heat wraps lasting for a few hours at a time[15].

If your pain does not seem to disappear naturally, doctors recommend taking OTC painkillers when the symptoms worsen.

6. Ice Pack

For acute sciatic pain, an ice pack is readily available and could help in lessening leg pain, particularly in the initial stage[16]. It is found that applying an ice cube wrapped in a cloth or an ice pack to the back for 15 minutes or so every 2-3 hours can do the trick. The majority of people use ice for relieving their sciatic pain. Some may alternate between heat and ice packs.

It is better to apply ice with a towel or cloth place between the skin and ice to avoid an ice burn.

7. Capsaicin Cream

Go for cayenne pepper if you want to get rid of sciatica. It is because cayenne pepper includes an active ingredient named capsaicin working as a natural pain reliever[17] [18]. This substance can also deplete the levels of the neurotransmitter called substance P that transports the pain signals.

To take advantage of capsaicin for sciatica, you should purchase an ointment or cream having 0.025% – 0.075% capsaicin. Then, apply it to your affected area from 1 to 4 times per day, for one week or more.

Warning: Capsaicin ointment or cream might result in a burning sensation at first. Avoid applying it to the broken skin.

8. Valerian

home remedies for sciatica - valerian

The root of valerian works as a natural relaxant. It may relieve chronic nerve pain and is especially good for relieving pain associated with sciatica caused by a muscle spasm[19]. This herb has volatile oils which can relax muscles while easing tension. Valerian is popularly used for supporting your sleep[20].

It is recommended taking 150 mg of valerian root supplement thrice per day for several weeks. Get the advice from your doctor in advance.

You can also steep 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes to make a valerian tea. Then, have this tea a few times per week for several weeks.

9. White Willow Bark

White willow bark could be used for relieving pain in the long term. It has phenolic glycosides with salicin, offering analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties may be beneficial in fighting sciatic nerve pain along with inflammation[21] [22] [23]

Prepare 2 teaspoons of white willow bark, a cup of water, and some honey. Add the bark to water and boil it in a saucepan. Simmer for ten minutes and strain. Let it cool. Add the honey and consume the tea. For optimum benefits, drink this tea 3 to 4 times daily. 

You can also take the white willow bark supplement containing 120-240 mg of salicin every day for a few weeks. Have the advice of your doctor in advance.

10. Fenugreek Seeds

The poultice made from fenugreek seeds could be a great solution for those looking for home remedies for sciatica. It is because fenugreek seeds could help alleviate sciatica pain, due to its anti-inflammatory properties[24] [25]. Furthermore, it soothes gout and rheumatoid arthritis pain.

  • Take a handful of fenugreek seeds to grind finely
  • Boil the powder with some milk to have a mushy paste
  • Apply the paste to your affected area as a poultice
  • Wait for several hours before washing it off
  • Repeat this routine every day to relieve your symptoms completely
11. Garlic

Garlic possesses anti-inflammatory properties, thereby making it a good sciatica pain treatment. Its anti-inflammatory activity is highly beneficial in lowering the pain and inflammation that accompany sciatica[26]. Apart from that, the natural ingredients in garlic can help treat low back pain.

Method 1:

  • Take 10 garlic cloves, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of milk, and some honey. 
  • Add all the ingredients excluding honey in a saucepan and boil it. 
  • Simmer for five minutes and strain the milk. 
  • Let it cool a bit and add the honey. 
  • Consume one cup of garlic milk two times a day. 

Method 2:

You can increase your intake of garlic in dishes, or consider taking garlic supplements. For the raw garlic cloves, they can fight pain if taken each morning.

12. Spinal Manipulation

home remedies for sciatica - spinal manipulation

Chiropractic care becomes a popular natural treatment for back and neck pain[27]. Chiropractic spinal manipulation consists of various techniques involving short, quick thrusts to lessen nerve irritability responsible for inflammation along with other symptoms accompanied by sciatica[28].

According to a study published in the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics in 2010, it was found that spinal manipulation could benefit about 60% of the participants in the study who were suffering from sciatic pain to the same level as an intervention of surgery can have provided[29].

You had better take advice from a doctor of chiropractic medicine for appropriate treatment, depending on the precise cause of sciatic pain.

13. Alexander Technique

The Alexander technique is applied for correct movement and posture. It was shown to decrease and control the back pain symptoms[30] [31].

The technique is used by musicians and singers to help maintain healthy and correct posture and could decrease sciatic pain. The best manner to learn the Alexander technique is finding a teacher who can train you in a series of classes and can give you extra exercises to practice at home.

14. McKenzie Exercises

Particularly designed by Robin McKenzie – a physiotherapist – in the 1950s, this type of exercises can treat different lower back issues, including sciatica and herniated discs, and relieve leg pain and lower back pain[32] [33].

Your therapist or physiotherapist will aid you in performing the press-ups exercises in safe ways, showing you the precise form. A lot of back pain sufferers report good results with a reduction in leg pain, even in the initial week when the exercises are practiced regularly.

Note: When your pain is under control, you can practice cobra pose to strengthen the gentle press-ups.

15. Physiotherapy Exercises

One of the great home remedies for sciatica is physiotherapy which can be done every day to ease back pain and sciatica, correct improper posture, and strengthen the core abdominal muscles and the back[34].

  • Use a folded blanket or yoga mat to make the lying surface softer
  • Balance balls are good for strengthening back and core abdominal muscles and could be used as a chair when the traditional seats hurt
  • Opt for a high-quality anti-burst balance ball which fit your size
  • Use a strong ball for good results.
16. Elderberry

All parts of elderberry are of excellent use, be it fruit, leaves or flowers. It has the ability of muscle relaxing effects, reducing pressure on the nerve endings. It may help relieve sciatica because it helps to reduce pain and inflammation naturally[35] [36]

  • Prepare one teaspoon of organic elderberry and a cup of hot water. 
  • Then, add the elderberry to water and leave it to steep for ten minutes or more. 
  • You can add some honey to it for taste. 
  • Strain and enjoy this concoction it turns cold. 
  • Consume it 2-3 times daily for quick effects.
17. Celery

Celery juice is a great way to deal with sciatic nerve pain effectively. It may help calm the pain and inflammation associated with sciatica, as it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties[37] [38].

  • Take some fresh celery at first and cut them into small pieces. 
  • Add some water to these pieces and blend. 
  • Then, add some honey to improve its taste and consume the juice. 
  • It is best to enjoy a cup of celery juice two times a day.
  •  This will help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the sciatic nerve injury.
18. Epsom Salt

Magnesium is required for healthy nerve function[39]. One of the best methods to get access to it quickly is using Epsom salt. This ingredient is easily absorbed by the skin pores thanks to its magnesium and sulfate. 

  • To make use of Epsom salt for sciatica relief, simply fill your bathtub with hot water. 
  • Then, add 2 cups of Epsom salt into. 
  • Soak your affected area in this solution for 30 minutes every day to soothe the pain and relax muscles.
19. Horseradish

Horseradish has natural healing and anti-inflammatory effects to soothe the pain of sciatica and reduce inflammation quickly[40]

Try the method below:

  • Mince some horseradish to make a paste. 
  • Warm it slightly before massaging it onto your painful area. 
  • Use a clean cloth to wrap the area and leave the paste there for 2 hours. 
  • As an alternative, you could squeeze the juice from grated horseradish. 
  • After warming, add some honey to it.
  • Have 2 tablespoons of this juice for 3 times per day.

Extra Tips

  • Avoid making sudden movements
  • Adopt good postures to relieve pressure on the lower back
  • Execute proper lifting techniques with your knees bent and back straight
  • Sleep on the mattress which is not too soft or too firm
  • Practice regular exercise, yet avoid engaging in intense exercise
  • Do not smoke cigarettes because it promotes disc degeneration
  • Consume from 1 to 2 liters of water daily in order to keep your body balanced and hydrated. Take lots of water to lessen constipation and other medical issues which may trigger sciatica.
  • Have a balanced diet to help your body heal much faster. The juices of citrus fruits, including orange and lemon, can improve the immune system and decrease inflammation of the sciatic nerve. 
  • Add fiber-rich foods to your daily diet to avoid constipation because it could worsen sciatica.

Hopefully, with these simple but effective home remedies for sciatica, you now could say goodbye to your sciatic pain without using harmful drugs or surgery. However, if the symptoms still persist and you do not notice any improvement, you could visit your doctor or resort OTC medications with proper consultation. Take care!

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