Anyone have any dealings with sciatic pain?

Mrs. Cups will occasionally have a bout of sciatic pain, but this has been the worst one she’s had in a while. She’s tried stretching, using heat, using ice, using pills…nothing seems to really help other than “getting up and walking”.

Does anyone have any history with sciatic pain that can offer some tips and tricks? If it continues should she see a doctor? A chiropractor? Both?

I know no one here is a doctor…just asking opinions :slight_smile:

No one here is a doctor?? :confused:

[sub]checks OP’s registration date[/sub]

Damned newbies . . .

How often does she get it? And when did it first start? I had it during pregnancy & was awful.

There could a number of causes, so if it’s persistent and/or repeated, it’s worth taking it to a doctor, even if the final answer is more of the stretches and gentle movement. I had a long episode, and that was what eventually relaxed it.

I have sciatica in my right leg and haven’t found a solution other than just waiting for it to fade out - it comes and goes. Walking does help a bit but only slightly so.

About 6 years ago, I had it extremely badly, eventually getting to the point I couldn’t stand up for a month. It turned out to be due to a herniated disc severe enough to need surgery or risk nerve damage.

It’s very rare for it to be that serious (especially, apparently, in young women, and I was in my 20s at the time, which is why my doctor took so long to pick up on it), but it is possible. If it’s been going on a while or gets really bad, see a doctor.

I’d steer clear of chiropractors personally; my doctor sent me to one, and if anything he made it worse, as he manipulated my back without checking what the actual problem was. Turned out the problem wasn’t what he thought. He did stop immediately when I said it felt worse rather than better, and tell me that wasn’t normal, go back to the doctor and request a scan, but it went from sciatic pain to pain plus weird sensations (among other things it felt like my shoe was full of water, really odd) mid session.

Eta: Post surgery it’s almost completely gone. I get the odd tiny twinge, but that’s been it in 6 years.

Don’t sleep in bed Chances are you’ll roll over. Sleep in a recliner if you have one, or an armchair with your legs propped. Pull your car seat as far forward as you can stand, you don’t want to pull those muscles while your sitting on them. At least since I’m old, the medics have stopped treating me like a drug seeker when I have to go to the Urgent Care. Couple of muscle relaxers and couple of days in bed (but not sleeping!!) with heat, pretty much helps me get over it.
But I was told that once those muscles get over stretched, they never really snap back. And are prone to grabbing and twisting the bejesus out of that nerve.

There are multiple ways the sciatic nerve can be irritated, but I believe a herniated disk or compression at the piriformis muscle are some of the most common causes of irritation.

I’d get it checked out.

If it gets really bad, there are some electric devices that can be used to help deaden pain signals sent from the nerve.

I was going to mention the electric stimulation–my FIL wanted to try it but can’t because of his pacemaker. It seems kind of woo to me, but maybe Qadgop knows more.

Seconded on the doctor. If the pain is getting worse whatever is causing the pain is probably getting worse, and perhaps there’s a way to get at the root cause rather than treating the symptoms.

I got a lot of relief with the methods of Dr. John Sarno.

I had this painful sciatic thing and it was making me miserable for years, and finally I yielded to the idea that it might be psychogenic, and I worked on training myself out of it. It’s 95% gone.

If you check out the books from your library self-help section, then it’s 100% free. There are no products, services, or supplements on sale AFAIK. Might not be for everyone, but when you’ve exhausted all other avenues, it’s worth considering.

I spent probably 20 years with back pain, mostly sciatica and tried chiropractic, physiotherapy and Pilates, all with limited success. I don’t like taking pain killers so I was in varying degrees of pain for most of the time. Eventually I started going to a personal trainer who got me deadlifting. The most I could ever lift was 100 kilos but in less than a year I was completely pain free and even though I haven’t lifted anything for a few years…still no pain.


It can be bad, and can require quick surgery. I had it very bad 13 years ago from a herniated L5S1 disk from which I extruded practically all the pulp, and I have permanent nerve damage including some paralysis. I still have daily pain but fortunately it is not bad and not constant. I had surgery about 6 months after the injury and the surgeon told me it would have been a much better outcome if I’d had immediate surgery. Avoiding surgery isn’t necessarily conservative or low risk.

What helped me was a cane given to me by a nurse. It gave me immediate relief. I took a cab 1/2 mile to the med center and hobbled into the doctor’s office, in tremendous pain. I was able to walk home afterward up a steep hill using the cane after 2 acetaminophen. I have had several attacks since then, and using the cane helps every time. I don’t use the cane everyday, just when I have an attack.


Someone here recommended “Top 3 Self-Treatments for Piriformis Syndrome: A Type of Sciatica” and the simple exercise solved my problem! Searching for this just now, I see the same two therapists have at least one other sciatica video (for more severe suffering?).

When I had my bout, doctor gave me pills, heat, ultrasound, and recommended traction, but I think it was the simple stretching exercise in the video that was effective.

My wife has recently recovered from a severe bout, here’s what I learned

  1. 4-6 weeks is a pretty typical time frame for it to last
  2. Walking helps a lot
  3. Sitting down is the worst
  4. Drugs help. She picked up some nuclear pills from the doctor (Tramadol and Naproxen - I don’t know if they are generic or UK names as I’m no officianado).
  5. She tried physiotherapy, including acupuncture, until the therapist said she was getting worse and should see a specialist doctor.
  6. She had an MRI at about week 5 when she was nearly out of the woods - the consultant said it was caused by (don’t quote me on this) an impacted disc? A fuzed disc? Or some such. Anyway, he told her to hold off exercise in the short term but to do a course of physiotherapy once she felt entirely better to strengthen her core.
  7. It’s one of the most painful things you can have - my wife was in tears many times, and she’s a badass. I felt helpless to do anything for her.

I’ve had it off and on for years. It’s awful and there’s not a lot to help it go away other than the traditional methods. I’ve been to physical therapy, tried Vicodin, walked stretched, etc.

I’m my mind the above are the best stretches, especially the one starting at 2:03 and the one right before it. It can also be performed sitting on the edge of a sofa. Try doing it after using a heating pad on your hip/ buttock.

The other thing in found to be helpful is an inversion table. It helps when you have it but more importantly it helps prevent it if used regularly. I used to get sciatica every couple of months. Since I started using my inversion table it’s been several years since it’s flared up. It works by reducing the pressure on the spine.

If you do nothing it will probably go away in 4-6 weeks anyway.

Be aware that there isn’t any immediate cures. Stretching works, just not instantaneous. Stick with it. Also good posture is very important.


When mine acts up (I’ve had left and right sciatica pain that shoots down both legs into the toes) I end up performing a form of traction on myself.
I use an inversion table to start, since it’s the easiest and I can hold the position the longest of the two.
The second thing I so is hang from the rafters in the garage. I support all my weight with my hands only and let my entire body relax and take a couple of deep breaths (crack!!). I can feel my entire body stretch out. Feels soooo good.
I do this routine once or twice a day. This takes some upper body strength to hang from the rafters, however. You need to be able to hang while letting the rest of your body totally relax and stretch out. Strong forearms required.

If I start right away at the beginning of any onset of pain I can usually head it off in a day or two.

The last bout started while I was on vacation and away from home. Had to wait four days to start the stretching. It took about a week to recover. I believe that when I do these stretches it is opening up the spacing between the discs that have become compressed somehow.

I found that if I try to do these stretches as a form of maintenance that it isn’t as effective. My joints become too stretched out and sloppy and other problems arise.