Self-care measures to relieve sciatica, which involves intense pain in the lower back, butt and back of a single leg, include rest, massage, light stretches, pain medications, and ice or heat application, according to Mayfield Clinic. Regular physical therapy may also help.
To alleviate pain and inflammation caused by sciatica, apply an ice pack for up to 20 minutes multiple times daily within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms, as Mayfield Clinic instructs. Take a warm shower after, or adjust a heating pad to a low setting to soothe the muscles. Take no longer than two days of bed rest, and consult a doctor if home treatments do not reduce pain after a few days.
Doctors may prescribe a muscle relaxant for spasms, according to Mayfield Clinic. Severe pain often requires an analgesic accompanied by a muscle relaxant or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin. Doctors may also recommend steroids to relieve swelling and nerve inflammation immediately within 24 hours. Patients typically take oral steroids within five days or receive an injection in the affected region.
Physical therapy allows an individual with sciatica to resume normal activities and prevent further injury, as Mayfield Clinic explains. Consult a physical therapist about how to lift and walk properly, and learn how to stretch and strengthen the lower back, leg and stomach muscles.