5 Tips to Relieve Sciatic Pain

5 Tips to Relieve Sciatic Pain

If you have previously suffered sciatic pain, you’ll know how painful and debilitating it can be. Sciatica is a condition that results from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. You can experience pain, numbness, and tingling from the lower back that radiates into your buttocks, down the back or side of your leg, and into your foot.

Sciatica can stem from underlying medical conditions such as herniated or degenerated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another), or even pregnancy.


When sciatic pain strikes, you’ll want a quick fix. These at-home remedies can provide temporary relief from your worst symptoms. However, physical therapy is the most effective and natural remedy to be free from sciatic pain and safeguard against future flare-ups. Physical therapy will address the cause of your pain and give you the tools to manage your symptoms.

Top 5 Tips to Relieve Sciatic Pain

Keep Moving: It can be tempting to dial back on your activity. However, stay active if you’re not in too much pain and try some gentle stretches, a short walk, or another form of activity that uses the muscles that may be responsible for pinched nerves and sciatic pain. Walking is an excellent way to add gentle exercise to your day.

Apply Heat or Ice: Alternating heat and ice to the sore area can provide temporary relief. Apply an ice pack to the painful area for 15 minutes once every hour, then apply heat for 15 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Always use a barrier (like a towel) to protect your skin when using heat or ice, and never sleep while using heat or ice therapy.

ice pack

Adjust your posture: Many people who experience sciatica spend long periods sitting. Sitting with a rolled towel behind your low back will help to support your spine, or sitting with your knees lower than your hips will help to accentuate the normal curve in your spine. Both will allow you to sit more comfortably. Find ways to incorporate more time standing into your daily routine. You can also practice good posture when walking. Hunching or walking with rounded shoulders can add stress to your spine. Sleep with a small pillow between your knees to help to keep your spine better aligned.

Try over-the-counter medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen may relieve your symptoms. Make sure to follow the dosing instructions on the label.

Work with a Physical Therapist: One of the most beneficial and practical approaches to treatment is physical therapy. A physical therapist can perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause of your pain and develop a personalized treatment plan individualized for you. On top of providing relief from pain, physical therapy can protect you from future flare-ups. Your physical therapists will work with you to address the underlying cause of pain and balance the muscles responsible for flexibility, stability, and good posture.

physical therapy on back

Kori Wood is a Doctor of Physical Therapy working with patients at Allied Services Luger Scranton Rehab Center. To get long-lasting relief from sciatica, call us at 570.348.1360 or request an appointment.