Sciatica is a painful condition, and the pain associated with it can become very uncomfortable at times. During these times, all one wants is a treatment for it. Although there are several forms of treatment available, not all of them really work. Natural forms of treatment are preferred over other medications, largely because they do not have any side effects on the body. Similar treatment is the application of heat and ice sources. Not only are these constantly available, but they are relatively inexpensive. Above all, these methods of treatment have proven to be immensely effective.
Ice pack, or a similar cold method of treatment effectively reduces inflammation, and works equally well for your numb sore tissues. However, the effect is largely dependent on the severity of the condition, and health experts recommend its usage during the initial period. Application of an ice pack in times of sharp pain offers immediate relief, though the sufferer may have to apply it continuously for 2-7 days.
The underlying principle of this method of healing is quite simple. Blood vessels dilate when heated, and this eventually results in enhancing oxygen and well as nutrient flow to the affected areas in the body, thereby initiating the healing process. Additionally, this also has a psychological effect on the patient. Sensory receptors in the skin get triggered by heat, and this enables the brain to focus minimally on the pain caused due to sciatica. For best results, you may want to use this form of treatment once the acute has lessened. This usually happens after 3-7 days of its initiation.
Nevertheless, not everyone encounters the same situation, and therefore single form of treatment may not work for everyone. In such cases, it is best to use cold and hot treatment packs alternatively.
When considering cold methods of treatment, an ice massage is an effective technique. Preparation and application is fairly simple, since the components are almost always available in a household. To begin with, put some water in a paper cup and freeze it. Once done, carefully cut the upper half of the paper cup leaving the ice exposed. Apply gently, in circular motions, over the affected area. Cooling is achieved in four stages, and it must be mentioned that the stages between the second and fourth give a burning sensation. Typically, the last stage is where a patient feels numbness, and it is strongly recommended that you stop once you feel numbness. Overtime exposure to this application can result in frostbite. The entire procedure takes anywhere between 3-6 minutes, with the thickness of the skin being a major factor in the effect of the treatment.
Although the massage can be done by the patient yourself, it is better to have it done by someone else if the pain is caused in an area that proves to be difficult for your access. Apply the ice pack within a six inch radius of the affected area, in a circular motion. However, refrain from massaging the bony area in the spine. The main aim of this form of treatment is to partially numb the affected area, while simultaneously providing gentle movements to relieve the compression of the sciatic nerve. Once the numbness has subsided, the procedure involves reapplication of ice on the area. It is safe to apply this treatment 2-3 times regularly.
The application of ice packs has also been known to be immensely effective if you are suffering from prolonged back pain. This free and easy technique provides almost immediate relief, and although it may not be an absolute cure, the treatment works for several types of back pain, especially or those caused by muscle strain in the lower back.
In the below section, we point out the advantages of using ice massage as a form of treatment.
In addition to the above effects, ice massage also allows you to gently manipulate the soft tissues in your body.
While the massage is almost always beneficial, it is best if the procedure is initiated soon after the injury. Scientifically, this is because veins contract due to cold, and therefore largely reduces circulation. Once the cold effect disappears, the views work extra to compensate, and dilation resumes to normal. All this helps the blood to circulate in the normal fashion, and this is essential because it helps the nutrients to move throughout the body, thus enabling the affected area become normal as quickly as possible.
Some people also recommend the use of ice packs, and the technique works quite the same as ice massage. You can choose to make an ice pack at home, or simply use a commercial one. However, in contrast to the method of application of ice massage, an ice pack is kept fixed at a spot, usually on the area affected. Also, an ice pack can be kept for about 15-20 minutes per application session, and can be safely be used thrice a day for best results. In case of treatment of sciatica pain, therapists recommend placing the pack on the lower back.
Interestingly, application of ice massage for sciatica relief is an effective treatment option in itself, but the best effect can be achieved if it used alternatively with ice packs.