Barring any serious underlying condition a conventional home care program is usually the first course of treatment for sciatica and other back pain conditions in Cleveland. The program’s aims are to improve function and relieve swelling. This entails moments or movement and rest, gentle exercises, the use of NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and heat and ice therapies. Assessment of work ergonomics can also be helpful.
Home Care Tips for Relieving Pain
- Weight, diet and exercise all play significant factors for back pain – Modifying particular lifestyle factors can lead to the reduction and perhaps even the prevention of sciatica.
- Yoga – A lot of sciatica sufferers state that yoga provides far better relief for their back pain than self-help books or conventional exercises.
- Getting adequate and restful sleep – A good quality sleep is very important in sciatica recovery and relief. Abstaining from caffeine in the afternoon and evening can facilitate sleep in the night time. Indulging in relaxation techniques or taking a warm bath can help you unwind and make you fall asleep. Back pain causes sleeping difficulty especially when the pain gets worse at night. Some sufferers get by with pain medicines or sleeping pills to help control pain or to get some sleep. Sometimes curling yourself up in a fetal position and a pillow tucked between your knees or just lying straight on your back with a pillow under your knees can minimize the pain.
- Supportive back corsets, braces or belts can temporarily relive the pain in some people. But these things need to be used only for a short time since their long-term use can weaken muscle tone over time.
- Alternate your use of cold and hot packs – Physicians advice their patient to alternate between hot and cold compresses every 3 minutes doing this sequence three times. This procedure can be done thrice a day.
- Apply a heat (around 104 degrees Fahrenheit) compress to the site of the pain for about 30 minutes then rest for an hour before continuing the procedure again for another half hour.
- Use NSAIDS that can be bought over-the-counter in your local pharmacy. These drugs can include ibuprofen or aspirin. You can also non-NSAIDS medicines like paracetamol. All these can provide substantial temporary pain relief.
- If you suffer from acute sciatica, never indulge in any intense physical activity and exercise especially any trunk twisting or heavy lifting.
- Go back to performing normal activities the moment you are able to – When your back pain has subsided, bed rest is no longer required and it can even retard the healing process. Rest only when it’s time to rest (at night or when tired) or when you are applying heat or ice therapy on your body. Remember not to strain or stretch yourself when performing activities.
Smoking weakens the circulation of blood in the body and makes the person’s threshold for pain lower. One British study revealed that young adults considered long-term smokers were almost twice at risk to have sciatica and other low back pain problems compared to nonsmokers of the same age group.
Tips for Daily Movement and Inactivity
- Good posture is essential in the prevention of sciatica – Good posture means that your shoulder, ears and hips are in a straight line with the stomach tucked in and the head up. Try not to stand for prolonged moments of time. If you need to walk frequently wear shoes with no heels and with soft cushioned soles. Rest your feet by alternately setting them on top a low foot stool.
- Use ergonomically designed chairs when sitting – Chairs you should sit in should either provide low-back support or have straight backs. Swiveling chairs are good since they avoid the need for waist twisting. Good chairs should also come with adjustable backs and arm rests. When you sit, the hip should be lower than the knees and so a hassock or a low stool is ideal to put the feet on. You can place a rolled towel or a small pillow at your lower back to draw pressure away from your back when you drive or sit.
- Driving or riding in a car for many hours can be stressful to the body. Sit on a comfortable position by sliding the car seat forward to avoid bending forward. Do not recline your seat beyond 30 degrees at it can affect your range of sight and strain your neck while you drive. Try to tilt the seat bottom slightly upward in front, if possible. For long trips, try to stop every hour and walk around. Try not to carry or lift objects immediately after riding or driving.
- Children often complain of neck and back pain due to heavy backpacks they tote to school each day. Children should not carry backpacks that are over 20% of their body weight. Behavioral or emotional problems can also be contributing factors for back pain in children.
Tips for Lifting and Bending
- Get help when attempting to lift an awkward or heavy object
- Spread your feet apart to get a wider support base when you lift an object
- Stand as close as possible to the object you plan to lift
- Do not use your waist when you lift. Instead bend at the knees. Tuck buttocks in a manner that the pelvis is rolled under and the spine maintains a normal S curve and make sure your stomach is tightened as you move up and down. Apply this posture as well when stooping down even if no lifting is involved.
- Use your leg muscles instead of the back when lifting.
- Stand up without bending forward from the waist.
- When lifting a heavy object or when bending, never twist from the waist. When moving an object to one side, shift your toes in that side and pivot toward it.
- Pull, not push an object if it can’t be lifted.