Saturday, April 22, 2023

How to Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain From a Bulging Disc

I'm no stranger to back pain. I've suffered from lower back pain in different forms, for most of my adult life.

However, I recently experienced something new to me, which was intense sciatica or sciatic nerve pain in the back of my leg, caused by a bulging disc in my lower lumbar region. The disc between my L5 and S1 vertebrae is bulging to the left.

The strange thing is that I didn't do anything in particular to cause the pain. I was just going about my normal daily routine and when I got up from my chair at work, I noticed a bit of stiffness one day.

By that evening, the pain was increasing gradually and that next morning it was unbearable.

I've had dull, pulsing sciatic nerve pain down one of my legs in the past, but it was more an annoyance than anything else and it went away on it's own in a day or two.

My recent pain was constant, intense and the worst pain I've ever experienced.  

In this post, I will detail what I went through and provide some details on what worked for me, that I hope can work for you as well. 

Of course, I am not a doctor and you should definitely consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment regiment.  I just wanted to provide some information from my experiences, that I hope can provide some relief for you as well.

If you're in a hurry, you can scroll to the bottom to the conclusion section, to see the items that helped me the most so far.  

Some of the links below are affiliate links to Amazon. If you make a purchase, I would receive a small commission of approx 3-4%, at no additional cost to you.

Sciatica Pain Explanation

"The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body; it runs from each side of the lower spine through deep in the buttock into the back of the thigh and all the way down to the foot. It serves a vital role in connecting the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles.

Any type of pain and/or neurological symptoms that are felt along the sciatic nerve is referred to as sciatica." - Source

Sciatica pain symptoms commonly originate in your lower back area and then shoot down one, or sometimes both of your legs.  That happens when the sciatic nerve gets activated, usually when irritated by a herniated or bulging disc.

Herniated discs are different from bulging discs.  Herniation is when the jelly-donut like filling in the center of a disc leaks out into the spinal cavity, due to a tear in the tough cartilage layer of the disc itself.

A bulging disc occurs when the entire disc extends outside the space that it would normally occupy.  Picture a hamburger patty protruding from one area of the bun.

The symptoms of sciatica can vary, depending on the situation.

In order to determine what is causing your pain, an Xray can help, but usually an MRI is needed in order to figure out exactly what is causing your pain and to determine a proper treatment plan.

It was an MRI that determined that the disc between my L5 and S1 vertebrae was bulging to the left, which was pushing against the sciatic nerve on my left side, causing the constant, intense pain down my left leg.

Bulging Disc Treatment for Sciatica Pain 

In my case, the pain originated in my buttocks on the left side and went down the back of my thigh, stopping close to my knee.

The pain was constant and I could not do anything that would put pressure on that nerve.  That meant I could not sit at all and standing was painful as well, since gravity causes pressure on the spine which causes the disc to bulge and it actives the sciatic nerve.

During the first 5 days, the only thing I could do was lie down flat on the floor, for the most part.  Most online advice for sciatic pain says to try and continue normal activity after a day or two of rest, but that just wasn't possible for me.  Even lying flat on the floor was painful.

I tried Ibuprofen, thinking that would help the swelling and inflammation, but it did not help much at all. Tylenol seemed to help a little, but only slightly.  It only helped enough to catch a tiny bit of sleep, while it lasted.

I tried taking 1/2 of a muscle relaxer, but it made me anxious and it did not help to take away the pain, so I didn't continue to take that.  

During that first 5 days, I slept at most 3 hours a night and it was in little 15-20 minute chunks. The lack of sleep made things even worse.

I tried to do a few stretches that I found online, but at the time the pain was so intense I couldn't do much.  I also didn't know the bulging disc was the cause of my pain at the time, so I didn't want to do stretches for the wrong underlying issue and cause more problems.

After 5 days of suffering, with little to no relief, I posted about my pain on Facebook and received responses from a few friends and family with suggestions.

The first one was to try apply a topical creme to the affected area where the nerve is inflamed. Much to my surprise, this was an absolute MIRACLE for me.

We happened to have one of the suggested remedies at the house, Tiger Balm and within 20 minutes of applying the balm to my left buttocks and the entire back of my thigh from there to my knee, the pain began to subside for the first time that entire week.

I couldn't believe something so simple, could have such a big positive effect so quickly.  It was surprising, because in all my online research that week, I didn't see any mention of those types of products.

The only downside of Tiger Balm, is that it has a menthol odor to it, similar to Vicks's Vaporub, but it subsides over time.

The other suggestions worked just as well.  They included Aspercreme with Lidocaine and Salonpas.

One caution on Salonpas though, it contains an aspirin component that could result in an overdose, if you utilize the product more than the recommended dosage. For that reason, I decided to rotate between Tiger Balm and Aspercreme with Lidocaine only. 

As you would imagine, these are not a cure for sciatica or a bulging disc, but I credit them for being a true miracle because they were the only thing that helped me cut down the pain so that I could actually sleep, walk and sit, so that I could begin to work fixing the underlying problem. 

Exercises For Bulging Disc Pain

The exercises in this YouTube video are very helpful. The one that seems to help the most is standing straight and bending in the direction away from where your disc is bulging.

In my case, since my disc is bulging out to my left side, standing straight and bending to my right is helping the most. I continue to do that several times a day.

Inversion Table to Help a Bulging Disc and Sciatica Pain

Another suggestion from a close friend was to try an inversion table.

He has been using one himself for several years, to help alleviate similar pain.

I did a lot of research on several of the more popular tables out there and went with the one shown here for several main reasons.

Based on the extensive reviews, this one seemed to have more cushion and support, had a more solid overall feel, folds for easy storage and it can be used by yourself, without a spotter (although the manual recommends against that).

It arrived in 2 days via Amazon Prime (free 30 day trial), took me about 90 minutes to assemble and I was inverting in no time.  It lived up to all my expectations.

Many of the other models have complaints about not having enough padding, especially around the ankles. That is not the case for this one.  Everything feels very snug, solid and is very easy to operate.

So far I've utilized the inversion table twice daily for 3-5 minutes each time, at a 20% inversion angle and it has helped greatly.  You can work your way up from there to 40, 60 or 80%.


I'm still not quite out of the woods yet, but I have returned to normal activities and just have to be careful to not overdo things at this point.  I will be sure to report back with any new developments, but in the mean time, below is a summary of the items that helped me the most thus far.

Keep in mind, these items helped me with sciatica pain caused by a bulging disc. If your situation is different, these same products and procedures may not be appropriate. As mentioned above, please be sure to consult a physician to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, for your specific situation.

Alleviate Sciatic Nerve Pain

Tiger Balm Ultra - Get the Ultra clear version, the red one can stain

Aspercreme with Lidocaine

Exercises to Reduce a Bulging Disc

Equipment to Help At Home

Inversion Table For Spinal Decompression 


Friday, April 7, 2023

Therabreath Review - Best Mouthwash


TheraBreath vs Smart Mouth vs ProFresh

During the past 3 months, I tried TheraBreath, SmartMouth and ProFresh, each for a month at a time and I'm happy to present the results for you here today. 

If you aren't sure if you have bad breath or not, I've got a quick way for you to find out. Lick the back of your hand and let it dry for several seconds then sniff it. Seriously, do it right now, it really works.

I had never heard that before, of course we all try holding our hand in front of our mouth, but that does not always work.

Good News, Bad News

If you've suffered from bad breath for any length of time, there is some good news and some bad news when it comes to these types of products.

First the bad news, despite what you might read, there is no product out there that will cure bad breath for an entire 24 hours, just by using it once a day.  Ain't gonna happen in my experience.

However, the good news is that there are products out there that will absolutely get rid of your bad breath better than ever before and if used as directed, can actually get rid of your bad breath for almost 24 hours.

Another piece of good news is that it really only takes less than 2 minutes to follow the proper steps to eliminate your bad breath. It is not a time consuming process, but you really need to follow the steps and do so every day to achieve consistent success.

I utilized each product for 1 month to be sure I was following the manufacturer recommended length of time to allow the product to work properly.

Smart Mouth Review

 Smart Mouth

Based on customer reviews, I had high expectations for Smart Mouth, but I was aware of the caveats as well. This one either appears to work great, or for anyone sensitive to Zinc, it is not a good choice.

Smart Mouth has a patented zinc-ion technology, different from the other two products. It comes with 2 liquid pumps, which you combine to active when you rinse.

Unfortunately, I had issues similar to some of the negative reviews online, but not as severe as some. Basically, I had a very metallic taste whenever I utilized the product and it altered the taste of everything I consumed shortly afterwards.

Despite the very bad taste, I did stick it out for an entire month, since they did say in the product materials that it might take two weeks for your body to adjust.

During that time, it did work well, but honestly, it was very difficult to get any sort of useful results due to my negative reaction to the zinc.  

Unfortunately, even after a month I was still unable to tolerate the metallic taste and the way flavors of food and drink were just not the same.

However, since everyone is different, SmartMouth may be a good choice for you.  This one is probably either great if you don't get the same reaction, or one you'll need to pass on.

ProFresh Review


ProFresh and I go way back. I first tried this product over 7 years ago and it worked really well for me at the time.

As others mention in the reviews, ProFresh does have a slight odor similar to chlorine, but it is not overpowering and it does not taste bad.

The full starter pack is the way to go with this one. It comes with 3 bottles of solution, several packs of the activating agent, that you combine with the solution 1 time when you first open it, a tongue scrapper and a travel size sprayer for when you are on the go.

The product works very well. It is still the same formula that I utilized several years back and it still works as advertised. You scrape your tongue, brush, then gargle/swish around the solution for a minute or two and you're good. Then throughout the day you can bring your travel size sprayer to spray the back of your tongue to stay fresh all day long.

TheraBreath Review


TheraBreath was the winner for me.

It has a slight minty taste / smell, but it is not overpowering by any means. It is similar to ProFresh in that you utilize a tongue scrapper and then brush, but for this product, the recommendation is to utilize the TheraBreath toothpaste.

This is not just so they can make more $ in my opinion. It is a very different, gel kinda toothpaste that on the surface looks a little pricey, but it lasts quite a while and it definitely helps.

You utilize a drop of the gel and use it to brush your teeth as well as your entire mouth. Then you rinse with the solution and you're good.  They say very clearly that you should not rinse with normal tap water or it will negate the effects of the product. After about 3-5 minutes you can drink water or have other food or liquids as normal.

It really does a great job and it lasted the longest for me. It would last right through to lunch and only when I ate something strong like Mexican or spicy foods, did I feel that I probably needed a refresher.

What I would do, is utilize this as directed and then bring a small travel size container to use as a rinse for after lunch and you would be good to go all day.

TheraBreath - 2 bottle discount.


I hope this detailed breakdown helped present a few different options to you and if you do try any of the products that I mentioned here, I hope you eliminate your bad breath as well!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

Thanks and best wishes for eliminating your bad breath for good!!

Some of the links above may be affiliate links.  If you decide to make a purchase, I would receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

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