How to relieve sciatic nerve pain and back pain
Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve, which runs from your hips to your feet, is irritated. It usually gets better in 4 to 6 weeks but can last longer.
Check if you have sciatica
If you have sciatica, your:
- Backs of your legs
- Feet and toes
- Painful – the pain may be stabbing, burning or shooting
- Tingling – like pins and needles
Your symptoms may be worse when moving, sneezing or coughing.
You may also have back pain, but this isn't usually as bad as the pain in your bottom, legs or feet.
You probably don't have sciatica if you only have back pain.
How you can ease the pain yourself
Sciatica usually gets better in 4 to 6 weeks but can sometimes last longer.
To help relieve your pain and speed up your recovery:
- Carry on with your normal activities as much as possible
- Regular back stretches (see below)
- Start gentle exercise as soon as you can – anything that gets you moving can help
- Hold heat packs to the painful areas – you can buy these from pharmacies
- Exercises for sciatica
Some simple exercises and stretches (see video below) you can do at home can help ease pain from sciatica (pain in your buttocks, legs and feet) and improve your strength and flexibility.
Aim to do these exercises every day, along with other activities like walking, swimming or yoga.
Your pain should start to ease within 2 weeks and will usually pass in about 4 to 6 weeks.
See a GP if:
- Your pain doesn't improve within a few weeks
- You experience severe pain while trying any of these exercises
- Knee to chest stretch