You have chronic sciatica, and you've tried seemingly every passive sciatica treatment—and found mixed results.

Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis, but rather a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
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Maybe it is time to take a more active role in your treatment; so here are 3 active techniques that can help you better cope with your chronic sciatica.

Watch: Sciatica Treatment Video

But before you utilize any of the coping techniques described below, locate a dark, secluded room. Next, engage in 2 to 3 minutes of controlled breathing; then you are ready to begin.

See Chronic Pain Coping Techniques - Pain Management

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1. Disassociation

As you likely know by now, the location of your sciatica symptoms can vary based on which of your sciatic nerve roots is pinched or irritated. So it’s possible to experience symptoms in a variety of places; such as your calf, foot, or hamstring (and symptoms may be experienced in multiple locations at once).

See Sciatica Symptoms

Regardless of the location of your symptoms, imagine that particular part of your body as separated from the rest of your body (a mental practice known as disassociation). For example, picture your foot on the desk located on the other side of your room. You can then tell your foot (or whichever body part is experiencing symptoms) to remain there, as you continue to hold the picture in your mind.

When your first start out you can hold this image in your mind for as little, or as long, as you like.

2. Sensory splitting to relieve chronic sciatic pain

Pain is not the only sensation that is associated with chronic sciatica—you may also feel burning, numbness, or tingling. If you experience multiple sensations at once, you can try the coping technique known as sensory splitting.

See Leg Pain and Numbness: What Might These Symptoms Mean?

As the name implies, this technique involves separating multiple sciatica-related sensations into individual sensations. For example, if you are experiencing both pain and a burning sensation, try to separate the two and focus only on the sensation of heat.

3. Mental analgesia

Sciatica symptoms can flare-up at any time, and you might not always have medicine on hand to help alleviate your symptoms.

See Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain

With the mental analgesia technique, you can use the power of your mind to help mimic the effects of pain medication. For example, try picturing a strong pain killer, like morphine, being injected into the part of your body that is experiencing symptoms.

If you are averse to needles, don't worry. Another option is to imagine that your brain is producing a tremendous number of endorphins (your body's natural pain killers). You can then envision these endorphins rushing to your leg or foot.

Physical Therapy and Exercise for Sciatica

Slowly build up your mental endurance

Regardless of which of the above technique you choose, try to work your way up to 30 minute sessions at least 3 times per week. But in the beginning you can start with only a few minutes once or twice a week.

The goals of these sessions are to reduce your reliance on pain medications and to empower you to take a more active role in the management of your chronic sciatica.

See 11 Chronic Pain Control Techniques

And if you haven’t already, make sure to have the underlying cause of your sciatica diagnosed. This is important because your chronic sciatic pain may be more than a nuisance—it might be a warning signal alerting you to a serious medical problem.

See Sciatica Causes

Learn more:

Myths About Sciatica Treatment Options

Modern Theories of Chronic Pain