The nerve pain that comprises sciatica can significantly impede your ability to enjoy life, so it’s worth researching and learning as many options as you can to relieve your pain.
Below are 5 tips that you may not have heard before, all of which may contribute to sciatic pain reduction:
1. Reduce inflammation through nutrition
A diet rich in whole grains, natural foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, such as salmon, and soluble and insoluble fiber can be effective in reducing inflammation.1 Curcumin (turmeric), ginger, green tea, and black tea are also potent sources of anti-inflammatory substances1 that help build up immunity and improve overall health.
Following this type of diet will help build the levels of anti-inflammatory substances in your body over time and may reduce the occurrence of sciatica in the long-term.
What to avoid while following an anti-inflammatory diet
When you choose to regularly consume anti-inflammatory foods, it is important to avoid or limit1:
- Inflammation causing foods, such as sugars, refined carbohydrates, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils
- Smoking, which can lower the production of anti-inflammatory molecules and induce inflammation
It is advised to check with your doctor before making extensive dietary changes and to ensure that your diet does not interfere or interact with any current medications.
For more information, see The Ins and Outs of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet on Arthritis-health.com
2. Build specific micronutrients
Supplements help build up micronutrients in your body, which may not be fully obtained through a regular diet. A few examples of important micronutrients include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B6
- Fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids)
These micronutrients help suppress inflammatory mediators and reduce the overall inflammatory processes. Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium act as antioxidants in the body.1 The B group of vitamins help improve nerve health2,3 and reduce sciatica. You can also take curcumin (turmeric) supplements if you don’t consume turmeric as a part of your daily diet.
3. Release your natural pain killers with massage
Massages can help you feel relaxed, release endorphins (your body’s natural hormones that reduce the perception of pain), improve blood circulation, and soothe sore spinal muscles.
- A deep tissue massage can help restore the spine’s range of motion, improving its flexibility.
- Manual therapy, a special form of medical massage, can help knead out knots, trigger points, or tension in the muscles.4
There are many forms of massage that can be beneficial, such as myofascial release and Shiatsu (a Japanese massage technique that utilizes finger and palm pressure and stretching techniques).5
These massages may be more effective in relieving sciatica pain from poor posture, muscle strain, or fatigued musculature in the lower spine.
Read more about How Massage Can Ease Sciatic Pain
4. Try mind-body techniques
You can use the power of your mind to lower your perception of sciatica pain. Mind-body techniques, which include deep breathing exercises, meditation, guided imagery, and cognitive behavioral therapy, can be helpful in relaxing your muscles and, to an extent, increasing your sense of control over the pain.
You may find that these techniques also help reduce anxiety and depression6 often associated with chronic pain.
5. Walk in a swimming pool
Water therapy exercises or even simply walking in waist-deep water can help improve nerve and muscle function in the lower body. The natural buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, thermodynamics, hydrodynamic forces, and viscosity of water helps regulate the functioning of nerves and muscles, letting you exercise with less pain.7
Bonus tip: Get more restorative sleep
The quantity and quality of your sleep can directly affect pain and inflammation in your body. When you sleep, several inflammatory substances peak in your bloodstream and stay active throughout the night. When there is poor sleep quality, these inflammatory agents continue to circulate in the body through the day—resulting in pain and fatigue.8
A full night of deep, restorative sleep can help decrease inflammatory pain and make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
If your sciatica pain gets worse and/or severely disrupts your daily life, check with your doctor about additional pain relief options, which may include medications, manual manipulation, epidural steroid injections, and more.