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Any kind of intense pain can significantly reduce your quality of life, and the longer it goes on, the more problematic it becomes. That’s why conditions like sciatica can be so difficult to handle. 

According to a study published by Harvard Health Publishing, sciatica affects up to 40% of the population, and yet the treatment process is often painful and difficult. 

Do you have a personal or family history of sciatica? Would you like to know more about how you can treat it to effectively minimise pain and reclaim your lifestyle? 

Read on to find out more about this condition and how a TENS machine could help you manage it. 

What is sciatica? 

Sciatica is a medical condition affecting the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the legs. It can cause mild to severe pain anywhere between these two points, and is most common amongst people who are prone to back pain. Sciatica is most likely to develop when the spinal nerve is compressed, whether by a herniated disk in the spine, a bone spur, or spinal stenosis. 

What is a TENS machine? 

A TENS machine is a device which channels a mild electrical current into the body to relieve pain. TENS is an acronym for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. 

What causes sciatica to flare up? 

Sciatica generally develops as a result of a sedentary lifestyle, which commonly leads to triggers such as extra weight and poor posture. These flare-ups can last for between four and six weeks and require attention from a chiropractor or physiotherapist. 

How can I help my sciatica nerve pain? 

There are several ways to reduce and manage sciatica nerve pain without needing a visit to the hospital. Over-the-counter treatments such as ibuprofen or aspirin and heat or cold treatment can be very effective. If you are able to move fluidly, you should also focus on incorporating plenty of movement into your daily routine, including stretches for the lower back and hips. 

What’s the fastest way to cure sciatica?

Because sciatica causes inflammation and restricts blood flow, you’ll need a treatment that can take care of both of these problems, and many patients have found that a combination of heat and ice therapy does the trick. Heat therapy encourages blood flow while ice therapy is a natural anti-inflammatory treatment which also helps to ease painful muscle spasms. 

What are the stages of sciatica recovery? 

Sciatica recovery is all about gradual increases in motion with a focus on building strength and flexibility in the body. The process begins with sitting and lying down in correct positions, which often requires making a switch to firmer furniture and bedding. This phase progresses into gentle exercise, intended to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Finally, mobility exercises are introduced to build strength and flexibility. 

Are TENS machines good for sciatica? 

TENS machines are versatile and strong enough to relieve sciatica pain at varying intensities, and they make good alternatives to regimens of painkillers which can have unwanted side effects, such as addiction or overdose. 

How often should you use a TENS machine for sciatica? 

According to the general rules for TENS machine usage, these machines are safe to use for 30-60-minute intervals, up to four times per day. The same rules apply for TENS machine usage limits regardless of the condition you are treating - however, if you notice that the machine is not providing relief or you are experiencing other unwanted side effects, you should speak to your GP. 

Can a TENS machine make nerve pain worse? 

While TENS machines are considered a very safe method of pain relief and management, the results may not be as expected if the machine is used incorrectly. Over-stimulation is the problem most likely to occur from usage, particularly if you turn the machine up higher than you normally would. 

What should you not do with sciatica? 

Since sciatica affects a fairly major nerve, there are many movements and exercises you should avoid during a flare-up. These include anything that involves bending, twisting your spine, and remaining sedentary for long periods of time. If you have any concerns about your exercise regime during your recovery period, speak to your GP, chiropractor, or physiotherapist.

Taking care of yourself as you recover from sciatica doesn’t have to be difficult or painful - especially when you have access to a TENS unit. 

Are you ready to experience a pain relief solution that works without the side effects? Click here to see the Caremax range of TENS units.