Whether you are an athlete, a student, a professional, or a retiree, sciatic pain can affect you and turn a great day into a bad one. What if there were some ways to help prevent and treat your sciatica that might not cost you much time or money?
Sciatica, or the pain caused by the sciatic nerve when it gets pinched, can be a debilitating condition to have. Whether you have had it all of your life or it is a brand-new-to-you feeling, the hurt it causes can leave you feeling terrible. Luckily, there are some known causes that contribute to sciatica, as well as some tips and tricks that just might be able to help you kick your sciatic pain to the curb.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a painful condition that occurs as a result of compression in the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs all the way from the hip, through the buttocks, and down to the feet. The compression of the nerve can be the result of a variety of factors, but regardless of the reason for the pinching, the pain is often felt from the hips to the knees, sometimes even further into the toes.
Sciatic pain is often only felt on one side of the body and is described as a numbness, a tingling sensation, or pain in those areas. The pain scale of sufferers of sciatica varies greatly, as well. Oftentimes, sciatica flare ups can be resolved on their own with time, but they are likely to come back and can require surgery if severe enough.
Why is my sciatica acting up?
Sciatica pain can be a result of one or more factors. Some of the reasons your sciatica could be rearing its ugly head might be:
Trauma or injury. Trauma via impact, such as in a car accident, can cause the spine to align abnormally, which could lead to pinching of the nerve.
Bad shoes. High heels, though super fun to wear, can lead to uneven weight distribution in your body, putting pressure on your spine in abnormal ways.
Stress. Stress can also contribute to sciatic pain, as stress can manifest itself in our bodies. Ensure you are taking care of your body by minimizing stress when possible.
Excessive body weight. Obesity can cause your body weight to put strain on your spinal column, which can cause the pinching that leads to sciatica pain.
Poor posture while exercising. Having poor posture while exercising, particularly while lifting weights, can also put undue strain on your spine.
Age. As humans age, it is natural to have some wearing down of spinal discs that cause painful friction or pinching.
Bulging or Herniated discs. The sciatic nerve in your lower back can be affected by a bulging or herniated disc. Each affected nerve root will send pain into a different part of the leg.
Pregnancy. As your baby grows during a pregnancy, you could experience some mild shifting in your spine as a result of the growth of the child.
How can I prevent sciatica flare ups?
While there are seemingly many causes of sciatica pain, the good news is that you have the power to prevent some or all of these flare ups! Practice the following to help potentially lessen the number and severity of your sciatica flare ups.
Practice good posture. Good posture is imperative to the health of your spine, which is key in preventing sciatica issues.
Maintain a healthy weight. Having an appropriate body weight for your gender, age, and height is a great help in ensuring your spine stays in the shape it should be.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can also help ensure you don’t pinch the sciatic nerve, as it helps flexibility and bone strength.
Lift with proper posture. If you choose to lift weights or heavy objects for other reasons, ensure you are lifting with a straight back and bent legs.
Sleep in a good position. Sleeping in the fetal position or with pillows underneath your knees while on your back can help alleviate and prevent back and nerve pain.
Wear good shoes. Wearing supportive shoes that maintain good posture and back shape can help keep your sciatica pain at bay.
Piriformis stretches. The piriformis muscle covers the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back and down towards your legs and can cause sciatic pain. There are several helpful stretches that can be found online.
How can a chiropractor help with my sciatica?
Chiropractors can help minimize your sciatic pain with regular visits, additional exercises, physical therapy, and alignments, among other services. Oftentimes, your chiropractor can evaluate the underlying cause and treat the disc and spine issues that are creating the sciatic pain. We would love to support you in kicking your sciatica pain to the curb. Schedule an appointment with us online or call us to get started.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.