Sciatica pain is a catch-all term for feeling discomfort that starts from your lower back and runs down to one or both of your legs. Pain does not have to radiate through your whole leg to classify as sciatica; it can localize (often with higher intensity) at places like the foot, calf, or hamstring. Sometimes the symptoms can occur in multiple locations at once. When sciatica is chronic, it means the pain does not go away over time and is usually severe enough to cause a crippling level of discomfort. There are no single treatments for chronic sciatica that work for everyone, but the following three techniques can help you manage symptoms before speaking with a pain doctor.
Through biofeedback, a computer measures physical states within your body that are usually not under voluntary control. Doctors place electrodes over the skin around the area of the muscle that may need treatment. By measuring the electrical activity present under the skin, the computer screen can record how much tension is present within the tissue. Some patients use biofeedback to measure how they can consciously influence such a state instead of leaving the feeling up to chance.
It is possible to find temporary relief from chronic sciatica using a mental exercise called dissociation. Through dissociation, one imagines that the central point of pain detaches from the body itself. The most common example can be described by thinking of a patient who has chronic pain around his foot. The patient can imagine that his foot stays in the same place as the rest of his body moves away, or pictures the foot as if it is on the other side of the room. Dissociation requires some practice, and it often helps to stay in a quiet, secluded area with little distraction to maintain focus during early attempts.
Time flies when you’re having fun, and pain can work the same way. It may sound a little too simple, but staying engaged with your favorite activities can help reduce your awareness of chronic pain. If your favorite activities consist of running marathons or biking up hills, you may have to look for something new – like yoga, swimming, or cooking. More than anything, continuing to have hobbies keeps you active and helps you prevent depression, which can lead to more extreme perceptions of pain.
While you learn how to approach your chronic sciatica pain, you should also take time to understand the underlying cause of the discomfort. Pain can be more than just annoying, it may signal a serious underlying medical problem. Garden State Pain Control has helped patients throughout New Jersey diagnose and treat their chronic pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.