Sciatic nerve pain results from a compression of, or an injury to, the sciatic nerve. The pain usually runs from the lower spine to the buttock, then down the back of the leg to the calf [source: Mayo Clinic]. In most cases, the pain goes away by itself within two months. However, there are things you can do to relieve the pain. Sciatic nerve pain isn't a medical condition. Rather, it's a symptom of another condition. Therefore, treating the underlying condition, such as a slipped disk or degenerative disk disease, can provide relief.
Start treating the pain with conservative measures:
- Apply an ice pack several times a day, holding it on the painful areas for up to 20 minutes at a time.
- Beginning a few days after the pain starts, apply a heat pack or a heating pad on a low setting.
- Try alternating cold and hot treatments.
- Stretch your lower back. Each stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds.
- Use over-the-counter pain medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (like Motrin or Advil) or acetaminophen (like Tylenol).
- Get regular exercise. Exercise acts as a painkiller.
- Sleep in the fetal position and place a pillow between your legs, or sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees [source: MedlinePlus].
If these conservative measures don't relieve your pain, discuss the following options with your doctor:
- Working with a physical therapist.
- Taking prescription painkillers.
- Having your doctor inject corticosteroids into the painful area to treat the inflammation and relieve the pain.