If you have back pain that radiates from your back to your legs, you might have a condition called sciatica. Sciatica occurs when pain travels along the path of the sciatic nerve from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica is most often triggered when a herniated disk or an overgrowth of bone puts pressure on part of the nerve. Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases clear up with treatment in a few weeks.
Symptoms of Sciatica Pain:
Sciatica is felt as nerve pain radiating from the buttock down the back of the leg, often when sitting, sneezing, coughing or going to the toilet. You may also feel lower back pain, and/or tingling, pins and needles, numbness or weakness in your leg.
What are the risk factors for sciatica?
- Age-related changes to the spine
- Obesity, which can put extra pressure on the spine
- Occupations where you twist the spine or pick up heavy objects
- Prolonged sitting
- Diabetes, which can increase the risk of nerve damage
- Smoking. The nicotine in tobacco can damage spinal tissue, weaken bones and speed up the wearing down of vertebral disks
How to Prevent Sciatica:
Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of avoiding sciatic pain:
- Keep your core strong. Work the muscles in the abdomen and lower back needed for good posture and alignment. A health care provider can recommend activities.
- Keep good posture when sitting. Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Keep knees and hips level.
- Use your body correctly. When standing for long periods, rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time. When lifting something heavy, let your legs do the work. Find someone to help you lift heavy objects.
What to Do At Home If You Have Sciatic Pain:
While it’s important to consult your physician and chiropractor when you experience sciatica pain, here are some practices that can help to reduce sciatica pain at home:
- Start gentle exercises as soon as you can – anything that gets you moving can help
- Gently stretch the spine and hamstrings.
- Engage in light activity, such as walking and swimming, as well as exercises to increase core strength.
- Apply ice or heat to the painful area, starting with ice for a couple days before switching to heat.
- Put a small, firm cushion between your knees when sleeping on your side, or several firm pillows underneath your knees when lying on your back.
- Practice good posture.
- Do not sit or lie down for long periods – even if moving hurts, it can help you get better faster.
- Do not use hot water bottles to ease the pain – you could scald yourself if your skin is numb.
How to Stop Sciatic Pain from Coming Back:
Here are a few tips to help you prevent sciatica pain from returning:
- Stay active
- Use a safe technique when lifting heavy objects
- Ensure that you have a safe posture when sitting and standing
- Lose weight, if you are overweight
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker
Reach Out to Us
All of the doctors at South Orange Chiropractic are dedicated to helping you get to the root cause of your sciatica pain. Reach out today to book your appointment. Let’s get you back to feeling good again.