Question : I've been suffering from back pain which travels down my left leg for the last five years. I'm not on any medication but have been doing exercises every day. What can I do to reduce the pain?
Answer: PAIN that radiates from your lower spine (lumbar) to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. It usually affects only one side of the body. This pain along the sciatic nerve can be caused when the root of the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated.
Sciatica is often a symptom of other conditions such as herniated or slipped disc, degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis of the spine. Most of these conditions put pressure on the nerve. It is important to address the underlying causes first. Sciatica can be very painful but it is rare that permanent nerve damage will result. If you have progressive weakness in the leg or have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder, please seek immediate medical attention. Surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve may be an option when pain is chronic and disabling.
Fish oil may help alleviate discomfort and inflammation. Omega-3 has been shown to produce favorable changes in suppressing the production of inflammatory compounds secreted by white blood cells.
Celery, guaiacum, ginger and sarsaparilla contain phytochemicals that can help to reduce or eliminate the inflammatory substances that often aggravate the condition. Capsicum also contains active substance, which can help soothe and reduce pains.
Gentle stretching exercises can help you feel better and may relieve compression but avoid jerking, bouncing and twisting. You may also consider physical therapy.
Maintain a good posture when sitting or standing as poor posture stresses your back and the nerve. If you stand for long periods, rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time.
Bend at your knees, not your back, so that your legs do the lifting. Don't twist at your waist. Instead, turn by pivoting your feet. Heavy loads pose the greatest risk, so know your limitations.
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