Unfortunately if you have an attack of sciatica the odds of a repeat episode some time down the line is relatively high. As with all things there are degrees of severity of an attack so the question is;
“Are there any warning signs for an impending sciatica attack and if I get them what can I do to reduce the severity of the sciatic pain?”
The answer to the first part of the question based on my experience of someone who has had sciatica and as a remedial massage therapist who regularly treats people with sciatic pain there are a few warning signs.
- A low level tingling sensation, like a very mild electric shock in the lower back / top of the buttock or some times in the foot. This can be an early warning sign that the sciatic nerve has been aggravated.
- A mild cramping sensation or tightness in your lower leg.
- An occasional sharp twinge in the top of the buttock, sometimes travelling down into the back of the leg (usually triggered by doing a strenuous or sudden physical action).
- A change in temperature sensation in the leg. Sometimes the leg or foot can feel cold or hot.
The key is the above symptoms can be very mild and nothing like raging sciatic pain.
So here are my seven top tips for limiting the severity of an episode of sciatica.
- If you get any of the symptoms described above do not ignore it, thinking it will go away – it probably won’t. If you’ve never had these symptoms before go and see your GP.
- Feel and see if you can find a sore spot in your lower back around your spine. Place an icepack (wrapped in a thin covering) on the ‘ouch spot’. This could be the source of the irritated nerve and will help to reduce inflammation.
- Apply a source of heat, either a hot water bottle or a wheat bag (not too hot; you don’t want to burn yourself) to the lower back and buttock area. This will help to relax the muscles.
- Gently massage into the area to relax the muscles completely. If it is deep in the gluteal muscle then ball your fist and apply steady pressure into the muscle (not too hard as this will only re-aggravate the nerve)
- Carry out the stretch that I have demonstrated in a previous blog ‘The Easiest Stretch for Sciatica’.
- Do not cross your legs whilst sitting.
- Use the Sciatic Pain Relief Cushion whenever you are seated.
I know this procedure has helped many of my patients recover from a sciatic attack or stopped niggling symptoms in their track before they got serious. I hope it will do the same for you.
Best wishes to you all,