Excerpt: More than 80 percent of adults experience back pain during their lives, but fortunately there are simple and effective ways to ease and prevent sciatic nerve and back pain. These include practicing yoga, limiting the time you spend in bed, staying active and other complementary therapies like acupuncture and therapeutic massage. Self-care measures and treatments like physiotherapy, stretching exercises and cold packs can also help to ease sciatic nerve pain.
World Spine Day, held on October 16, emphasizes the importance of maintaining the good health of the spine. According to the Canadian Spine Society, more than 80 percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives.
What is sciatica?
Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital says that sciatica is a type of back pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, through the buttocks and down each leg. Even though sciatic pain can be very uncomfortable, most people improve with time and the help of conservative treatments that don’t require surgery, according to Mayo Clinic.
Effective ways of preventing or easing sciatic nerve and other low back pain:
1. Staying active
If you stay in bed for longer periods of time, you will only delay the recovery from back pain, says the Canadian Medical Association. Get regular, low-impact exercise by riding a stationary bike, swimming, walking, and make sure to stretch before you exercise, advises HealthLink BC.
2. Do yoga
People with moderate to severe chronic low back pain who participated in regular yoga classes improved their mobility, reduced their pain and stopped taking pain relievers, reported an Annals of Internal Medicine study.
3. Try complementary therapies to get relief
Spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and therapeutic massage may help relieve your low back pain, and often work best when combined with self-care treatments according to Harvard Medical School.
4. Self-care for sciatica
Mayo Clinic advises most people with sciatica to have self-care measures in order to help ease their pain. Start with cold packs for up to 25 minutes, and after two to three days apply heat to the areas where you experience pain. Stretching exercises for your lower back will relieve nerve root compression, and if needed you can also use over-the-counter pain relievers. If symptoms continue to be unmanageable and persistent, see your doctor for assessment and further treatment, says Mayo Clinic.
5. Ease nerve pain with physiotherapy
Physiotherapy is highly helpful when it comes down to correcting posture and strengthening muscles in the lower back in order to take the stress off the compressed sciatic nerve, advises St. Michael’s Hospital. This can prevent future episodes and also relieve sciatic pain.
6. Pay attention to your posture
To keep your back healthy, practice good posture by keeping your hips, shoulders and ears in a straight line when you walk, sit and stand, says HealthLink BC.
7. Watch your weight
A healthy weight minimizes the stress on your back according to Mayo Clinic.
8. Adjust your sleeping position
It is very important to use a firm mattress and to reduce the pressure on your back by sleeping on your side, with your knees bent, advises The College of Family Physicians of Canada.
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