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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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  • "I have been going to chiropractors off and on for many years but only when my back was hurting to a point where I had trouble walking due to the back pain. I’ve had a bad back off and on for as long as I can remember so I was anxious to find permanent relief. I started going to Dr. Kip about 2 years ago and after several months I was put on a maintenance program, initially twice a week and months later, once a week. Since I’ve been on the maintenance program, I’ve had no regular issues. These regular visits also have other benefits due to discussions with the Dr. and office staff and info on the “health T.V.”"
    -Ron R.
  • "I have been coming to see Dr. Kip for almost a year. I started coming in because of my back pain but I wasn’t really sure what chiropractic was or how it could help. Today I feel I have a much better understanding and that chiropractic is a very good and necessary asset of healing. My back pain is not so severe now. It feels better, and when it does begin to hurt I know what to do to make it better. The kindness and understanding of the office staff give the whole experience a calming and reassuring vibe."
    -Joycie G.
  • "Our family has been coming to see Dr. Kip for 2 years. We came in initially because Julie was having severe shoulder pain along with numbness in her arms. She thought it was linked to a problem in her neck. Brian suffered from migraines every few months. We didn’t know much about chiropractic care before. We’d had some in the past but never on a regular basis. I believe our family is healthier as a result of chiropractic care. In fact this year has been the healthiest year for our family with no sickness other than colds and Brian experiencing fewer migraines! We love the staff, of course, and the affordable care plan allows our entire family to receive care."
    -Brian K. and Family