Sciatica is painful, and symptoms may arise when least expected. Flareups can occur out of nowhere. Luckily, most people can overcome it within six to eight weeks with nothing but self-care procedures. However, if the painful sensations are chronic or the affection does not seem to ameliorate, medical advice is recommended. Now, dealing with flareups is another thing.
Sciatica first aid will not provide long-term relief or cure sciatica permanently. You will need proper care and attention, as well as patience. But then, what do you do when random episodes occur? What are the things you should have handy to tackle them straight away?
1. Topical medication
Topical medication will work wonders and provide results within minutes only. Such tinctures and creams will be applied directly to the skin. You can feel the pain going away within minutes only. Their main role is to work on the blood flow and create a numbing sensation in the area, but also to reduce inflammation.
You can find patches, gels, oils, creams, and so on in most pharmacies. Some of the most popular choices include menthol, capsaicin, cannabidiol, methyl salicylate, or trolamine salicylate, among others. Some of these medications may also come with a mix of different substances.
2. Over the counter medication
Sciatica first aid may also involve using over-the-counter medication. NSAIDs are quite common and include naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Acetaminophen is also common when trying to relieve sciatica-related pains.
Such medications will not work on the affected area only, but over the whole body. You will notice results within the first hour or two. It depends on the strength of the medication, as well as the dosage.
Massaging the affected areas will also help relieve sciatica pain. You practically stimulate the affected tissues – focus on the lower back and the rear pelvis. If the pain travels through a leg, massage the thighs as well. The massage will most likely work on the muscles and help if they are tight. At the same time, soft tissues will relax a bit more. You will experience a calming effect as the pain goes away.
You can use any cream for a massage, but it is more efficient if you rely on topical gels specifically formulated to relieve pain. During a massage, make sure you do not stimulate the actually affected area. You can go around it, but not over it – you will end up putting even more pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Suggested article: 9 Different Techniques For The Best Massage For Sciatica
4. TENS machine
A TENS machine relies on a low-frequency electric current. It comes with some electrodes, which are attached to the skin. The other ends are attached to the actual machine. The machine will produce endorphins and reduce the sciatic nerve pain. It is safe and can be done without any medical help at home. You can purchase such machines without a medical prescription – available both online and in pharmacies.
Do not exaggerate with the therapy – 20 minutes to 45 minutes are more than enough and make a great sciatica first-aid solution. In more severe cases, you can go for up to an hour.
Suggested article: How To Use A TENS Machine For Sciatica Pain Relief
5. Lumbar brace
A lumbar brace will normally go on the lumbar area. It will also cover the sacral part of the spine and will help control sciatica pain, even when caused by other medical conditions. A stabilizing brace will normally come with rods that limit the spine from bending too much. Some of these braces will also stabilize the spine in a forward position – it may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will relieve pain.
You need to be careful when using such braces because core muscles could atrophy. Do not do it for more than just an hour to prevent unpleasant side effects.
As a short final conclusion, any of these sciatica first aid solutions will work wonders when flareups occur. What works for some people will not necessarily work for everyone else. Therefore, you should try out a few different ideas and see which one works better for you. From many points of view, pain relief is a matter of trial and error. You can also try combining a few different procedures, but be careful and do not exaggerate, or you might face side effects.
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