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Effective Home Treatment for Sciatica Pain

by Patty Weasler, RN April 09, 2020 0 Comments

Sitting with Lumbar Cushion

When addressed properly, sciatica treatment at home can be a fast and effective means to manage the pain that shoots down the lower back and leg. Thankfully, there are multiple home remedies for sciatica that you can try for yourself. Check out our list of at-home treatment for sciatica pain to help you get back to doing everything you enjoy.

Lifestyle Changes

Sciatica pain can be the result of how you lead your life. The inflammation in the nerves can be brought on by something as simple as sitting or standing too long. Now is the time to make some lifestyle changes to curb your back pain or prevent it from even occurring. Here are some ideas on how you can lessen your chances of developing sciatic nerve pain.

  • Diet

    You might not be able to control exactly what is causing the inflammation in your sciatic nerve. But you can do your best to decrease overall inflammation in your body by changing dietary habits. Broccoli, turmeric, tree nuts, and blueberries are all good anti-inflammatory foods.

  • Stop Smoking

    The second way to help fight inflammation is to stop smoking. Smoking can cause inflammation resulting in a slew of symptoms. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit successfully.

  • Quality Sleep

    To improve your quality of sleep you can make two simple changes to your nighttime routine. The first is to elevate your knees while you sleep. This will help take the pressure off of your lower back. The second is to sleep on a firm mattress or even the floor. Many people find that sleeping on a firm surface provides some pain relief for their sciatica symptoms.

  • Posture

    Take note of when your sciatica pain starts. Was it after sitting for a long time or were you walking a lot? How you move and your posture can affect your sciatica. Make sure you get up and move around every 20 minutes to vary your position to unload the pressure off of your lower back. If you’ve been walking a lot, take a break and sit or lay down.

  • Stay Active

    Sciatica pain relief doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it’s as simple as living an active lifestyle. You don’t need to become a marathon runner, just taking daily walks, stretching, and gentle sciatica exercises will do the trick. Staying active will keep you strong and flexible; all helping to reduce the symptoms of sciatica.

Hot and Cold Therapy

The best home remedies for sciatica are effective, yet doesn’t require much extra equipment. Hot and cold therapy definitely fits that description. Both treatments can calm an irritated sciatic nerve, giving you much-needed pain relief. Read on to learn more about each therapy and how you can use it for your sciatica pain.

Sometimes, hot and cold therapy is most effective used in conjunction with massage. Find some helpful techniques here.


Cryotherapy, also called cold therapy, uses cold to calm sore muscles and numb pain. Sciatica pain can be caused by swelling around the nerve. Using an ice pack or cold pack on the area for 20-minute increments can help reduce swelling, thereby minimize irritation on the sciatic nerve. Cold also can briefly numb the skin, giving you temporary pain relief.   

Heat Therapy

Another great home remedy for sciatica is heat therapy. The heat from a heating pad or warm bath will soothe and relax your muscles which can help alleviate sciatic pain. The warmth will increase blood flow to the area bringing more oxygen and nutrients for better healing. While heat is typically helpful for pain management if you have swelling avoid heat until it goes away.


Medication can help treat the symptoms of sciatica and let you go through your day with less pain.   


Two popular anti-inflammatory drugs are ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). These two medications reduce the inflammatory response within the body. This, in turn, can lessen pain. Another pain reliever is acetaminophen (Tylenol). This medication is a pain reliever that does not have anti-inflammatory properties. Talk to your doctor before you start a new medication to avoid adverse side effects.

Topical Creams

If you’re suffering from low back pain caused by an irritated sciatic nerve one option to treat it is topical creams. There are multiple different topical pain-relieving creams on the market, some numb the skin, while others soothe muscles. Creams are a good option for those who need quick, on the go pain relief. Topical creams won’t cure your sciatica pain but it can help you get through your day a little more easily.


Wearing a brace provides lower back support and compression. People with sciatica pain might find some benefit from trying a lumbar brace to help them maintain the correct posture and take the pressure off of the lower back. While a brace can be good for intermittent treatment, don’t rely on it too much. Bracing your lower back can cause your core muscles to weaken.

How to Choose the Right Back Brace

When to See a Doctor

While most people will find relief from sciatica pain within a few weeks, there are some people who won’t. If your sciatica is not getting better with home remedies it is time to call your doctor. Here are a few other situations that would warrant a call to your doctor for medical advice if you have sciatica pain:

  • Severe back or leg pain
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness
  • Pain doesn’t get better or worsens with home treatment

Learn more about physical therapy for sciatica.

Taking the Right Precautions in Early Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica pain can interfere with your daily life causing pain and discomfort. Starting treatment early at home with medication and lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in your life. If home remedies are not improving your symptoms call your doctor to help you develop a treatment plan for your situation.

Find more treatments for Sciatica Pain here.



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Sciatica Stretches
Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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