19 Effective Home Remedies For Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain, is pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg caused by compression or injury of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is considered a symptom of a medical problem and not a medical condition on its own.

Men between the ages of 30 and 50 are most susceptible to sciatica.

Sciatic nerve pain tends to affect only one part of the body but it could be quite severe in intensity. This pain usually affects the lower back as well as the rear thigh and runs down through the leg to the sole of the feet.

Sciatic nerve pain is most often caused by a herniated or slipped vertebral disc. Sciatica could also be caused by; tumors, spinal stenosis, pelvic injury, and piriformis syndrome (which is a painful disorder caused by narrow muscles in the buttocks).

In as much as sciatic nerve pain could vary widely, some symptoms that accompany it include; mild tingling, dull ache, or burning sensation. You may also experience a stinging pain, especially when standing up or sitting down as well as weakness or numbness on the affected leg.

Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with sciatic nerve pain;

  • Avoid bed rest as it is not recommended.
  • Reduce physical activities for the first couple of days. Then, ramp up your physical activities gradually.
  • Strive not to do heavy lifting or twisting with your back for the first 6 weeks after the pain begins.
  • You could begin exercising after 2 or 3 weeks of feeling the pain. Include exercises that strengthen your abdominal core and improve the flexibility of your spine.
  • Your healthcare provider may also recommend physical therapy.
  • Avoid smoking of cigarette as it contributes to vertebral disc degeneration.
  • Ensure you maintain a good posture, especially when walking, standing, or sitting, to relieve pressure on your lower back.
  • Avoid sleeping on a mattress that is either too soft or too firm.

Below are home remedies for sciatic nerve pain;

1. Turmeric

This golden-colored spice is treasured in the natural healthcare industry for its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, a polyphenol compound that helps to reduce pain and inflammation. To treat sciatic nerve pain, pour one tsp of turmeric powder in a cup of milk, add cinnamon stick and drink 1-2 times daily until you see some improvement.

Alternatively, take 250-500mg of turmeric capsules three times a day for two consecutive weeks. Turmeric is not suitable for people suffering from diabetes and gallstones. Furthermore, consult your doctor before you take any supplement.

2. Garlic Milk

This natural drink is popular in Ayurvedic medicine for its curative and preventive properties. Garlic milk is rich in essential nutrients such as polysaccharides, enzymes, proteins, vitamins, and flavonoids which makes it a strong antibiotic. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties of garlic help to reduce the pain and inflammation that accompanies sciatica.

For this remedy, put crushed garlic cloves in a saucepan, add two cups milk and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Once it cools down, add some honey and drink twice daily.

3. Capsaicin Cream/Ointment

Capsaicin compound is a key ingredient in cayenne pepper. Capsaicin helps to inhibit the release of substance P, a neural transmitter that transports pain signals. For this remedy, you should purchase the cream with 0.025-0.075% of capsaicin. For quick results, apply the cream/ointment to the affected area three times a day. Capsaicin can make your skin sensitive to the sun, so you should use sunscreen before you go outdoors. Also, avoid using the cream on the broken skin.

4. Hot And Cold Compress

An ice pack alleviates swelling around the sciatic nerve while the hot compress helps to relax the muscles in the legs or back. To relieve inflammation around the sciatic nerve, apply a cold pack for 15-20 minutes and then replace with a hot pack for another 15-20 minutes. This therapy is more effective than ice or heat alone. Avoid using the ice if you have circulatory problems.

5. Ginger

Ginger contains phenolic acid which possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in relieving sciatic nerve pain. If you can’t stand other medicinal anti-inflammatory products, you can prepare ginger tea by boiling finely chopped/powdered ginger in half a liter of water for 15 minutes and then add some honey. For best results, drink ginger tea 2-3 times daily.

6. Massage

A massage encourages the release of endorphins and serotonin. These two hormones are known for calming nerves, thus, helping you feel better. The massage treatment should start by applying constant pressure on the back and buttock area to stimulate circulation. Just apply some St. John’s Wort oil on your palms and massage the affected area 2-3 times a day. Another way is to add three tbsp of nutmeg powder in a cup of sesame oil and massage the gluteal muscles. Use this massage therapy at least once every day.

7. Valerian Tea

Valerian is used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve chronic pain. The herb contains volatile oils that help to ease tension as well as muscle spasms. It also works as a sleeping aid. To brew valerian tea, steep one tsp of valerian root powder in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes and drink 2-3 times a day. You can also take 150mg of valerian root capsules as advised by your healthcare provider. The oils from this herb will also help to relax the muscles.

8. Exercises

Your sciatic condition may be so excruciating that you may not want to get off your bed. Thankfully, you can do some exercises to improve circulation around the discs while reducing pressure on the nerves. To strengthen the core muscle, you should perform the knee to chest stretch. Simply lie on a flat surface with your feet straight up, relax the upper part of the body and then pull your knee towards your chest. Hold your leg in that position for 10-30 seconds and take a deep breath. Switch to the other leg and repeat 3-5 times. Other exercises you could perform include sitting spinal stretch, forward pigeon pose, reclining pigeon pose, and cat-cow pose.

9. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek has potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to relieve sciatic nerve pain. To prepare a fine paste, grind 2-3 tbsp of fenugreek seeds and boil in a cup of milk for 5 minutes. Apply the soft paste on the aching area and then wash off after a few hours. You can also make an infusion by boiling the seeds in a cup of water and consume 1-2 times daily. Avoid using this remedy if you have low blood pressure.

10. Peppermint Oil

Essential oils are helpful in managing chronic pain associated with arthritis and sciatica. Peppermint contains methanol which is known for its anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint offers a cooling sensation that helps to cool the sciatic nerve, prevents muscle spasms, and speeds up the recovery process. All you need to do is mix 4-5 drops of peppermint oil with jojoba or coconut oil and massage the problem area 1-2 times a day.

11. White Willow Bark

White willow bark contains salicin and phenolic glycosides that give anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. To get rid of sciatic nerve pain, you should consume 120-240 mg white willow supplements every day. However, the herb can cause digestive disturbances and itching. Having said all that, the herb should not be used by children and breastfeeding mothers. Furthermore, consult your doctor before taking any supplement.

12. Celery Juice

This vegetable juice reduces pain and inflammation naturally. To prepare celery juice, cut fresh celery into small pieces, add half a liter of water and some honey to improve taste. Consume one cup of celery juice 1-2 times a day. This remedy is more effective when combined with potato juice.

13. Spinal Manipulation

Since sciatica is characterized by pain that originates from the buttock and the back, you can perform some spinal manipulation techniques to alleviate pain and inflammation. These techniques range from the use of rapid and short thrusts to those that use minimal and gentle force. While it would not cure the problem, studies have shown that up to 60% of participants benefit from spinal manipulation. These manipulations aid in restoring misaligned intervertebral discs. A chiropractor should guide you on the best technique to use depending on the cause of sciatica pain.

14. Horseradish

This herb possesses natural healing properties that are helpful in eliminating sciatic nerve pain. Horseradish works by stimulating blood flow around the inflamed areas to ease the pain. You can take the herb in the form of compresses, poultices or tea. Simply grind some horseradish to make a fine paste and wrap it on the problem area with a clean cloth. Leave it overnight and then clean the area in the morning. Use the poultice every day before going to bed.

15. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a perennial herb with strong anti-inflammatory properties. It contains bisabolol (thick colorless liquid) which soothes inflamed sciatic nerve. To brew chamomile tea, steep one tsp of chamomile in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, strain off and then add some honey. Drink three times every day until you get some relief. Ideally, the dosage will depend on the intensity of the pain.

16. Elderberries

Elderberry juice helps to reduce the nerve pain by relaxing the muscles. It also eliminates the numbness and pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike other natural herbs, the leaves, flowers, and stems of elderberry have unmatched medicinal value. To prepare the infusion, steep 1-2 tsp of elderberry in a cup of water for 15 minutes, strain and drink the tea while still hot. You can also add some honey to improve the taste.

17. Apple Cider Vinegar

You can also treat your sciatic pain problem using ACV. ACV contains malic acid, potassium, calcium, and other essential vitamins. To relieve pain and inflammation, add half a liter of apple cider vinegar and a cup of Epsom salt or sea salt in a basin of warm water and then soak your feet for 30 minutes. Next, remove your feet from the basin and towel-dry them. After that, wear some socks to keep the feet warm. This remedy is effective when used at night. It’s suitable for treating symptoms such as numbness in the legs and muscle burning on the lower hips.

18. Lemon Juice

Regular consumption of lemon juice provides the much-needed vitamin C which helps to reduce the inflammation associated with sciatic nerve pain. Furthermore, if the condition is due to acidic build up, lemon juice can relieve the problem effectively. Simply add some lemon juice in a cup of water, add some honey for flavor and drink twice daily. For optimal results, drink the juice when on an empty stomach. Only use fresh lemon juice.

19. Acupuncture

This Chinese technique allows your body to heal itself by relaxing the muscles. Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system which triggers the release of chemicals from the brain producing a sense of well-being. When you use acupuncture as a stand-alone therapy, it would reduce pain by more than 80%, thus, restoring the body’s normal function. If you can’t identify the pressure points, you should seek the services of a professional acupuncturist.