How Can I Get Immediate Relief from Sciatica?

Medically Reviewed on 4/26/2022
How Can I Get Immediate Relief from Sciatica?
Mild to moderate sciatica pain can be managed with a few at-home remedies within three months.

Mild to moderate sciatica can be resolved within three months with proper interventions. Depending on the reason, many sciatica symptoms can be resolved over time with a few basic self-care activities.

The good news regarding sciatica is that most people recover in a few weeks without the need for surgery. There are, however, things you may take to alleviate sciatic discomfort. Because of the discomfort, your first instinct may be to relax and take it easy, but if your pain isn't too severe, it's best to remain mobile although not overdo it.

  • Stretch, go on brief walks, or engage in any other physical activity that you find enjoyable. Stretch your lower back in particular.
  • You can try cold packs, heating pads, and over-the-counter drugs in addition to movement.

4 home remedies for immediate pain relief from sciatica

Four home remedies for immediate pain relief from sciatica include:

  1. Apply cold and hot compresses: Alternating heat and cold therapy might offer relief from sciatic nerve discomfort right away.
    • Both heat and ice can help reduce painful muscular spasms that frequently accompany sciatica.
    • Heat treatment can help reduce sciatica pain in the lower back and legs by relaxing tight muscles, dulling discomfort, and improving circulation. 
    • The heat can assist your muscles and back relax, as well as reduce muscular spasms.
    • Furthermore, heat should be utilized for at least a week after the healing process has occurred. You should make sure the therapy is warm but not too hot.
    • A cold compress relieves pain by constricting blood vessels and lowering blood flow, hence reducing inflammation in the afflicted area. It is really simple to use ice treatment at home. Simply take a few ice cubes from your freezer, cover them in a towel, and then place them on the area where the pain is severe.
  2. Use topical pain medications: People with sciatica often get immediate relief from over-the-counter drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
    • The drugs modify blood flow to the affected location to provide a numbing effect and reduce inflammation. It is ideal to apply the recommended quantity to the back pelvis in a circular manner that gives a massaging effect on the aching area.
    • Look out for gels and ointments that contain the below ingredients, which can offer quick relief due to their localized effect:
      • Methyl salicylate
      • Trolamine salicylate
      • Capsaicin
      • Menthol and/or cannabidiol (CBD)
  3. Physiotherapy:
    • Massaging the affected region has been proven to be quite beneficial because it promotes blood circulation, which improves the condition even more.
    • Exercise is crucial in the treatment of sciatica. A regular exercise program that includes active and passive stretching that causes muscle strengthening can help reduce both acute sciatica and potential recurrences.
  4. Aromatherapy:
    • Essential oils and aromatherapy have been shown to provide therapeutic advantages in some cases when compared with placebos and control therapies.

7 essential oils for treating sciatica

Massage is not always feasible. Therefore, baths with either of these essential oils might suffice. Following are the seven essential oils for aromatherapy for treating sciatica:

  1. Lavender essential oil
  2. Rosemary essential oil
  3. Marjoram essential oil
  4. Eucalyptus essential oil
  5. Peppermint essential oil
  6. Helichrysum essential oil
  7. Ginger essential oil

All of these essential oils are good not only for pain relief but also for reducing inflammation.


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9 stretches and exercises for immediate pain relief from sciatica

Nine stretches and exercises for immediate pain relief from sciatica include:

  1. Clamshell:
    • This exercise will aid in the strengthening of your deep gluteal muscles.
    • Lie on the unaffected side. 
    • Your body should be aligned in a straight line, with your legs outstretched and your feet placed on top of each other.
    • Bend your knees 90°, forming the letter “L” with your body. This is your starting point.
    • Begin by elevating your upper knee while maintaining your feet in position, creating the appearance of a clamshell opening up your legs.
    • Make sure you don't roll your hips backward when doing this move.
    • Work your way up to 15 reps and add a resistance band over your knees to make it more difficult.
  2. Single leg tuck:
    • This exercise will aid in the strengthening of your deep gluteal muscles.
    • Place your symptomatic side on top of your other side.
    • Your body should be aligned in a straight line, with your legs outstretched and your feet placed on top of each other.
    • Lift your upper leg to hip-width (approximately six to eight inches) from your bottom leg. This is your starting point.
    • Begin by flexing the hip and knee of your upper leg forward in a tucking action until they are at 90°.
    • Take three seconds to reach the peak of the movement, hold for three seconds, descend for three seconds to the starting position, and hold there while keeping your legs hip-width apart for three seconds.
    • Work your way up to 15 repetitions and then add ankle weights to make it more difficult.
  3. Single leg overstretch:
    • This exercise will assist in stretching your sciatic nerve.
    • Lie on your back with your symptomatic leg bent at the hip and knee 90 degrees.
    • Place your hand on top of your bent knee on the opposite side of your bowed leg.
    • Keep your shoulders on the floor and pull your leg straight across your body toward the opposing hip.
    • Straighten your knee till you feel a decent stretch in your buttocks or hips. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Knees-to-chest:
    • A knees-to-chest stretch can help restore flexibility to your lower back muscles and relieve spine stiffness caused by sciatica.
    • To begin, lie on your back. Pull one bent knee toward your chest with your hands.
    • Hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat the movement with the other knee.
    • Try this three to five times, with each time holding the posture for 10 seconds.
    • Pull both knees toward your chest when your muscles are ready. 
    • Hold for 10 seconds before repeating three to five times.
  5. Sitting pigeon pose:
    • This stretch focuses on the glutes and lower back.
    • Sit on the floor, your legs straight out in front of you.
    • Bend your right leg, placing your right ankle on top of your left knee to form a figure-four formation.
    • Lean forward gently and let your upper body reach toward your thigh. 
    • Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Reclining pigeon pose:
    • This position supports your lower back while relieving pressure on your hips. Lie on your back, legs bent, and feet flat on the floor.
    • Raise your left ankle to rest on top of your right thigh, just below the knee, as if you were crossing your legs in a chair.
    • Clasp both hands behind your right thigh, right hand outside the legs, and left hand through the hole you've made by crossing your legs.
    • Pull the right thigh slowly toward your chest. Hold the posture for a few seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
  7. Piriformis stretch:
    • Stretching your piriformis might help you work on your upper buttocks.
    • Lie on your back, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
    • Pull your right knee up to your chest, then grab it with your left hand and pull it toward your left shoulder, stretching across your body.
    • Hold the stretch for a few seconds before repeating on the opposing side.
  8. Standing hamstring stretch:
    • This stretch will assist to relieve hamstring tension.
    • To begin, stand in position and lift your right foot to or below your hip level on a surface (try a chair, ottoman or step on a staircase).
    • Straighten your leg and flex your foot, but don't overextend your knee.
    • Fold your body over toward your foot.
    • Hold for at least 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
  9. Glute foam roll:
    • You may try foam rolling to relax your glutes and piriformis.
    • Sit on the roller with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor to roll on your piriformis.
    • Place your left hand on the floor behind you and cross your left leg such that your ankle is slightly above your bent right knee.
    • Place your right hand on your left ankle and bend slightly forward so the roller is squarely beneath your left butt cheek.
    • Roll back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds over this region of the buttocks. Rest for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
    • A roller may also be used on your quadriceps, IT band, and hamstrings.

If these home cures aren't alleviating your sciatica pain, it's time to seek medical attention. Experts will determine the underlying cause of your discomfort and discuss the various treatment choices with you. Doctors will create a tailored treatment plan to help you feel better and return to your optimum level of functioning.

4 nonsurgical options for getting relief from sciatica

Four nonsurgical options for getting relief from sciatica include:

  1. Ultrasound therapy:
    • Ultrasound treatment uses low-energy ultrasounds to activate live tissue cells, hence accelerating their healing.
    • During the therapy, an ultrasound machine generates vibrations to deliver heat and energy to body areas beneath the skin to alleviate pain and speed up healing.
  2. Epidural:
    • Epidural injections can give pain relief, allowing people to return to normal activities and continue to improve in other areas of work, such as physical therapy.
  3. Acupuncture:
    • Acupuncture is commonly used to treat back pain.
    • Acupuncture, which uses small needles to stimulate the nerve system, can assist offer pain relief.
    • It is effective, safe, and well-tolerated.
  4. Yoga:
    • Certain yoga postures, such as child's pose, downward dog, and cobra, can help alleviate chronic lower back pain, improve activity limits, and minimize the need for pain medicines.
    • When beginning a new yoga practice, exercise caution to prevent injuring or worsening pre-existing ailments.

4 surgical options

For others, surgery may be the best option for providing long-term, effective pain treatment. 

Depending on the reason and symptoms of your pain, you have a few surgical options:

  1. Microdiscectomy:
    • The purpose of a microdiscectomy is to remove the disk material that is pressing on the nerves and create space in the spinal column, alleviating any discomfort caused by nerve pinching. 
    • The surgeon will make a tiny incision immediately above the afflicted disk and gently remove the injured, herniated tissue, easing pressure on the nerve.
  2. Laminectomy:
    • The surgeon removes part or all of the spinal bone during a laminectomy.
    • This treatment is frequently used to treat sciatica pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis.
  3. Foraminotomy:
    • A foraminotomy is a surgical procedure that removes bone from the sides of a vertebra to make room for nerve roots.
  4. Facetectomy:
    • This surgical procedure is used to relieve compression on pinched nerves caused by degenerated facet joints. In this procedure, the facet joints are typically trimmed, undercut, or removed to relieve nerve pressure.

Sciatica discomfort can make it difficult to enjoy life to the fullest. While it may be somewhat irritating for some, it can render others immobile or in excruciating pain. If sciatica pain is interfering with your everyday life, seek the advice of a healthcare expert.

4 ways to manage sciatica pain during pregnancy

Apart from trying the above four home remedies for immediate pain relief from sciatica, you can also try the below tips:

  1. Stretching and prenatal yoga:
    • Stretches that work deep into your glutes can be really therapeutic because spasms in this area of your body can frequently result in sciatica discomfort.
    • Stretches that target your back and thigh muscles, as well as stretches that help you increase flexibility in your hamstrings, can be extremely beneficial because this can make the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve more flexible, which can lead to a reduction in the type of irritation that causes pain.
    • Prenatal yoga done under expert guidance is safe and can help you strengthen your flexibility and pull out muscular tension, lowering your sciatica pain in a way that is safe for both you and your baby.
  2. Magnesium supplements:
    • According to research, magnesium supplements can enhance sciatic nerve regeneration and reduce any inflammatory reactions your sciatic nerve has in response to discomfort.
    • You may acquire magnesium lotion or oil to massage directly on your legs, which may assist reduce discomfort caused by your sciatic nerve.
  3. Physical therapy:
    • A practice that includes the right exercises can help you improve your flexibility, reduce inflammation, boost blood flow, and even realign your joints or muscles.
    • It aids in relieving pain by relieving pressure on your sciatic nerve. However, before beginning a new fitness plan, it is critical to speak with a specialist.
  4. Get a massage:
    • Sciatica can be relieved with a thorough prenatal massage.
    • If you're experiencing discomfort from your sciatic nerve, a deep tissue massage around the nerve can assist.
    • Foam rollers, for example, may be good for working out any tense muscles that are contributing tension to your sciatica.

The 10 most successful sciatica pain treatment options

The most appropriate sciatica treatment will differ from person to person and will be determined by the source, length, and degree of their pain, as well as other considerations.

The following are the 10 most frequent and successful sciatica pain treatment options:

  1. Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relief medications
  2. Prescription pain medications
  3. Alternating warm and cool compresses
  4. Walking
  5. Swimming
  6. Avoid sitting for long periods
  7. Regular mild exercise
  8. Regular stretching
  9. Physical therapy
  10. Surgery

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Medically Reviewed on 4/26/2022
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