You may be suffering from sciatic pain, if your lower back pain radiates from the lumbar region through the back of your thighs and bottom down to your knees.
It may also move into your heel, calf, and heel as well. Tingling sensations in this region are generally a sign of sciatic nerve issues as well.
The Nervus ischiadicus, or sciatic nerve, causes a great deal of pain because it is one of the biggest nerves in your body.
There is a simple therapy which can bring you relief from your pain as well as help reduce sciatica flare ups.
Massage and muscle manipulation have been shown to be effective methods of treating sciatic nerve pain. (1)
See also: sciatica stretches
Tennis Ball & Sciatic Therapy
Therapy sessions involving the use of a tennis ball can be used to apply pressure and manipulation to the piriformis muscle.
When this muscle is tense and/or inflamed it presses against your sciatic nerve compressing the nerve into tendons in the same vicinity. This compression often results in intense pain.
With the help of a tennis ball you can improve your circulation and relieve aching in your muscles.
Lie on the floor and place a tennis ball under the lower portion of your back. It should be directly under the muscles that are tense and ache. Depending upon the circumference of the area, you may want to consider using more than one ball.
Carefully press your back into the ball and gently roll it around to locate the tender areas. This point is the trigger. Apply a bit more pressure to these trigger points for about 20 seconds each. Move your body to roll the ball up and down these areas as well.
Be extremely careful while performing this. The goal is to relieve pain, not increase it. It may be a bit uncomfortable at first; however, it should not increase your pain.
This should be repeated several times a day during intensely painful flare ups. There are a number of other methods for dealing with sciatica which are natural, effective, and simple to implement.
Other Effective Treatments
Heat and ice therapies can be helpful for pain and inflammation in some cases. (2)
Valerian root extract has been proven to exhibit anxiolytic, or tension and anxiety reducing, actions. (3)
Numerous plant properties have the ability to reduce inflammation. Relaxation and anti-inflammatories are like a one two punch to sciatic and many other types of pain.
- White Willow Bark acts much like aspirin; however, it does not produce many of the same unwanted side effects.
- Turmeric (Curcumin) acts as a non-steroidal agent effective for treating inflammation.
- Green Tea can reduce inflammation and offers beneficial antioxidants as well.
- Chili Pepper (Capsaicin) offers significant anti-inflammatory effects. It also produces a heating sensation when added to massage oils which can aid in relaxing tense muscles.
Note: While NSAIDs also reduce pain, they are extremely harsh on the digestive system and are not recommended for certain patients with specific disorders.
This exercise will ease your discomfort, if the pain is due to muscle inflammation and tension.
However, if your pain is caused by a slipped disc or a symptom of a degenerative disc disease, it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention.