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Sciatica's Sting: How to Calm it

Since a high school sport's injury of falling flat on my sacral plate and the great collision with the rock that await me on the ground, I have experienced Sciatica on and off for much of my life. It is an irritating, painful, maddening nerve discomfort that on occasion, can make me mumble a few choice words while gritting my teeth. In my practice of therapeutic bodywork, I've come to observe this is a common condition, especially for those with back pain and spinal issues (i.e. stenosis). Therefore, to help care for other's nerve pain as well as my own, I have researched and trialed many non-invasive healing techniques and products that I would like to share with you.

Location: The sciatic nerve is thick in size and easy to disturb. It also runs along other nerve pathways, creating an orchestra of nerve impulses in the lower body! The sciatic nerve is the thickest and longest nerve in the body. Its extension is from the pelvic area to the foot. The Plexus (a network of nerves) origin of this nerve is the sacral plexus. The sciatic nerve branches off to form the tibial nerve and the perineal nerve.

Symptoms: Pain, tingling, numbness, and pressure radiating down the back of the leg, specifically the right leg. The sensation often begins at the base of the spine or near the hip, continuing down glutes, and the leg toward the right foot.

Causes: Occurs when one of the lower Lumbar or Upper Sacral (L3-S2) nerves are impinged or compressed, often due to injury or impact, along with contracted muscle or a displaced disc. This causes the nerve to become irritated and inflamed. Tight or injured gluteus muscles can also create this pain.

Topical Care:

  • A warm bath with 10 drops of essential oil such as lavender or chamomile in 1/2 cup of Epsom Salts. Also, an oil cloth compress (10 drops of essential oil with 1 tsp olive oil in very warm water) applied to the area.

  • Essential oils to gently massage into area of pain- Spruce, Marjoram, Sesame seed, Frankincense, Hyssop, Cypress, Turmeric, German Chamomile, Arnica, Lavender, and Wintergreen essential oils. * Be sure to use a carrier oil.

You can also find blended oils and creams for muscle and nerve pain relief, such as NatraBio The Arnica Rub Pain Formula Homeopathic Cream 4 oz

and Derma E Arnica Warming Sore Muscle Rub 4 oz

Internal Care: Consume herbal nervines (these are herbs that calm, nourish and balance the nervous system) - Oatstraw, Chamomile, Skullcap, Valerian, Hops, Lavender, Lemon balm, Lemongrass, and Spearmint. One of the best ways to consume these is through teas or tinctures. Examples: Tension Tamer, by Celestial Seasons or Traditional Medicinals Herbal Tea Organic Lemon Balm 16 Tea Bags


No-No's: Major stress, heavy lifting with back or legs, body pressure such as sitting too long/long car rides, excessive caffeine consumption, and consumption of nerve toxins: Aspartame, MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), corn syrup/sugar-laden foods.

Therapeutic Bodywork Care:

  • Gentle Stretching helps significantly with releasing tension and pressure on 'compromised nerves'. Laying flat on your back (on your bed or a yoga mat), bring both your knees slowly bending in towards your chest. Wrap your arms around your legs and hold this position, breathing for up to 30 seconds. This will help open the hamstring muscles and low back, taking pressure off lumbar discs.

  • Gentle Massage with anti-inflammatory oils is best to calm stimulated nerves. I never recommend deep tissue for nerve healing.

  • Traction & Alignment via Chiropractor can also yield relief of aggravated discs and nerves that suffer from pressure and/or irritation.

  • Elevation: Elevate legs by sitting in a recliner, allowing for a mild incline to take the pressure off of the sciatic nerve. Sitting on a pillow for the extra cushion is helpful.

For those sciatica-suffers out there, what do you do to relieve this menacing pain?

In Grace,








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