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Health > Sciatica


Sciatica Fact Sheet

This condition occurs as a result of a slipped disc or other reasons
(see the section slipped disc).

What to look for

  • pain radiating through your buttock, down the back of your thigh and leg, often to your foot. Activity may make it worse.

The disc may bulge because of normal working activity or lifting, housework or washing. The disc presses on a nerve in the spinal column and the sharp pain may be felt down the leg and through the buttocks.


Pressure on a sciatic nerve may be due to a slipped disc or a number of other reasons such as poor posture, muscle strain, pregnancy, being overweight. The sciatic nerve may also be inflamed due to arthritis.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor may suggest several types of pain killers to alleviate the pain.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Teas made from white willow bark or meadowsweet may relieve joint pain; try black cohosh for muscle spasms.
Other herbs which may relieve sciatica are St John’s wort, Jamaican dogwood, calendula and yarrow.
If your pain is severe, use ointment containing rue. Rub well on the affected areas 3 times per day.
Homoeopathy - For stiffness that is worse in the morning and at night but improves with heat, try Rhus toxicodendron. For severe shooting pain extending from your lower back to your ankles that worsens with motion, consider Bryonia. Make sure that you get professional advice for proper dosages and courses of treatment.

Dietary Considerations

High doses of calcium and magnesium at bedtime, with vitamin C, may be beneficial. Taking vitamin B6 three times a day for one week only may also help. You will need Professional guidance on taking supplements.

Personal Care

The following remedies might help reduce pain.

  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Rest as much as you can and try a hard board under your mattress for more support.
  • Lie in a warm bath for 25 minutes with your favourite Aromatherapy oil. Some suggestions are peppermint, marjoram and lavender.
  • During periods of acute pain, don't pick up anything heavy.


  • Sleep on a firm mattress on your back or side; avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Make sure your chair has firm back support - do not slouch and make sure your feet are flat on the floor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain is severe and doesn't respond to over-the-counter analgesics;
  • the pain persists for more than three or four days

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