How to Resolve Numbness from Sciatica

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Sciatica is usually a symptom of a painful herniated or bulging disc in the lower back. According to Mayoclinic.com, sciatica pain can shoot down the buttocks and legs and cause loss of feeling or numbness in areas of the body such as the feet or toes. The best way to resolve or get rid of numbness from sciatica is by using a combination of rest, immobilization, ice, heat, medication and exercise.

How to Resolve Numbness from Sciatica
(Alexandra Barry/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Back brace
  • Ice pack
  • Heating pad
Step 1

Stop all exercise and physical activity immediately and rest for a few days. During this time, wear a back brace when you need to move around or work.

Alexandra Barry/Demand Media
Step 2

Take two ibuprofen or naproxen pills every four to six hours until your sciatica numbness is gone.

Alexandra Barry/Demand Media
Step 3

Place a large towel on the floor or a sofa and put an ice pack on top of it. Lie down so that the ice is compressed directly against your source of pain. Remain for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat every three or four hours. Continue ice treatment until back inflammation and pain have subsided.

Alexandra Barry/Demand Media
Step 4

Once the initial inflammation is under control, use a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes several times per day. Continue with heat therapy until your pain and numbness are gone.

Alexandra Barry/Demand Media
Step 5

Lie on your back with both of feet on the floor and your knees up. Gently press your lower back against the floor. Hold for two to five seconds, then relax. Do 10 repetitions. While still lying down, grab both of your knees and pull them toward your chest. Hold that position for two to five seconds, then relax. Do this 10 times. Get on both hands and knees on a carpet. Slowly lift your right knee off the carpet and extend it backward as far as you can, fully extending it. Hold that position for a couple of seconds, then bring your leg back down. Do the same movement with your left leg. Do 10 repetitions with each leg.

Alexandra Barry/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • It is best to get ice on your back within the first couple of days. Ice will limit blood flow to your back (vasoconstriction), which keeps the inflammation, pain and numbness down. After the initial inflammation and symptoms are under control, heat will promote blood flow to your lower back. Blood carries important nutrients, as well as oxygen, to the soft tissues in the lower back that are used for healing. Stretching and strength-building exercises, like the first one in Step 5, will also increase blood flow. Stretching exercises will keep your back flexible and relax the sciatic nerve. Strength-building exercises can add stability to the spine and take pressure off the injured disc that is causing the sciatica and numbness. For more exercises, see the listed references.
  • Never attempt any exercise that increases your pain or numbness. This can cause further injury to your back and nerves. Instead, follow these procedures in succession. See your doctor if your pain persists for more than a few days with treatment.

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