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Natural Remedies for Sciatic Pain

"Sciatica" is an older term describing the symptoms of inflammation of the sciatic nerve, also known as sciatic neuritis. Sciatica involves radiating pain down the back of one lower extremity, usually including the back of the thigh and back of the calf, possibly extending into the foot. Sciatica pain may be described as sharp, shooting, gnawing, and/or burning, and may be accompanied by numbness and tingling. Intensity may range from mild to severe and frequency may range from occasional to constant. The onset is generally gradual and not necessarily associated with a precipitating event.

When lower back pain is accompanied by radiating lower extremity pain, it is useful to attempt to assess the relative distributions of such pain. If low back pain predominates or low back pain and sciatica pain are fairly equal in distribution (approximately 50% of the pain is in the low back and approximately 50% of the pain is in the lower extremity), then the sciatica pain may likely be caused by mechanical dysfunction in the low back. If sciatica is associated with a herniated disc, then leg and buttock pain will be the dominant symptom, compared with low back pain. In the case of a herniated disc, there may also be leg muscle weakness and diminished sensation in the affected leg. Pain that radiates only to the buttock and thigh is probably not related to irritation of the sciatic nerve, but rather to mechanical disorders of the low back and/or sacroiliac joint.

Regular chiropractic care is a primary natural remedy for sciatic pain. Regular chiropractic care detects and corrects spinal dysfunction that may be a source of sciatica pain. For example, altered spinal biomechanics may impinge and irritate spinal nerves, causing nerve inflammation and associated radiating pain. By helping to restore optimal spinal biomechanical function and relieve sources of nerve irritation, regular chiropractic care helps to restore the integrity of the sciatic nerve and reduce inflammatory pain and other symptoms.3

In addition to in-office care, your chiropractor may recommend the use of ice applications and stretching/exercise to assist in managing sciatica pain. An ice pack or plastic bag filled with ice cubes may be applied to the lower back for 15 minutes every few hours to help reduce associated muscle pain, muscle spasm, and sciatic nerve inflammation. Importantly, ice applications should always be wrapped in a thin towel so as to avoid placing the cold pack directly on the skin. Gentle stretching for the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles will assist in restoring optimal biomechanical functioning to both the trunk and the legs. Gentle exercise, including walking and riding a stationary bike, will similarly assist in the process of recovery. Overall, your chiropractor is your go-to resource and the best manager of the range of natural remedies to help resolve sciatica pain.


1Ramaswami R, et al: Management of Sciatica. N Engl J Med 376(12):1175-1177, 2017

2Deyo RA, Mirza SK: Clinical Practice. Herniated Lumbar Intervertebral Disk. N Engl J Med 374(18):1763-1772, 2016

3Lewis RA, et al: Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses. Spine J 15(6):1461-1477, 2015


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  • "After experiencing sometimes extreme pain in my lower back and hips (to the point of hardly being able to walk around the block). Dr. Illo was recommended to me and what a relief!!! Even now 10 years later I come in when needed for minor adjustments which keep me walking (pain free) for my 45 minutes to 1 hour, 6 days a week. I would highly recommend him to anyone and everyone."
    Robyn
  • "Dr. Tony saved my life in 1993 and I have been his patient since then. I suffered from sciatica in my legs and feet. Dr. Illo figured out that the problem originated in my neck and he released the problem. I had visited at least 5 chiropractors before finding him. He is the only one who could solve the problem. Sometimes there is a long wait, but his staff are accommodating and besides, it it TOTALLY worth the wait. And I drive 90 minutes to get there too. FIVE STARS"
    Roxanne
  • "Dr. Illo is a true healer and innovative in his practice. He understands athletes and working professionals to return them to full activity pain free. He has helped me avoid a back surgery and 2 full recoveries following auto accidents in an expedited fashion. His goal is to treat the problem and end his care when no longer needed vs. the chiropractor that makes you come back every week for months. He is worth any wait!!!"
    Sunshine
  • "Dr. Illo is the best chiro in the world. Because of him I can stand tall with minimal pain. He is a holistic wizard."
    Maryrose