The back pain caused by sciatica is unmistakable. That sharp, stabbing sensation that starts in the lower back and shoots through your bottom and down your leg. For some, sciatica is nothing more than a fleeting discomfort which soon passes. But for others, the pain can last for several weeks and may need further treatment. The first step to relieving your sciatic pain is to identify the ways that your lifestyle could be making it worse. Here are some of the most common.
1. Having poor posture
Poor posture is one of the most common reasons people suffer from sciatica. Becoming more conscious of how you hold your body will help you make changes that can reduce the intensity and frequency of the pain your experience.
If you work in an office, make sure you invest in a form of lumbar support that will allow you to maintain good posture at your desk. Where possible, you should also change your body positioning throughout the day to relieve some of the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Adjustable standing desks make this possible at work as does limiting your time sat on soft sofas at home.
2. Unhelpful outfit choices
Changing your outfit might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for ways to relieve sciatic pain. But many sufferers have noticed a correlation between wearing tight clothing and experiencing a flair up. Skintight trousers (especially jeans) and underwear with tight waistbands can sit directly on the sciatic nerve which many say exacerbates the discomfort. Switching to looser fit clothing when you experience pain could provide some relief.
High heeled shoes can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve due to strain caused by extended use of the muscles that maintain your balance. This can be made even worse if the heels are not cushioned properly as your back and hips will feel more of the impact from your steps as you walk. Make sure you invest in some heel inserts to avoid contributing to your sciatica and avoid them altogether during an attack.
3. Poor diet and lack of exercise
Simply put, the more weight you are carrying the more pressure you are putting on the sciatic nerve. If you are overweight or obese you should make some lifestyle changes that will allow you to lose some weight and also improve your mobility.
Aerobic exercise such as swimming can both help you lose weight and strengthen your muscles. Being in the water means that you are not putting any pressure on the nerve so it’s also the perfect activity to help relieve pain during a flare-up. Strength and flexibility training such as weight exercises and yoga will also strengthen the gluteal muscles and removes some of the strain from the muscles surrounding the sciatic never.
4. Leaving things in your back pocket
Sitting down with your back pockets full for any period of time contributes to many forms of back pain including sciatica. Keys, wallets and mobile phones are the usual offenders but you should make an effort to remove anything solid from back pockets before you take a seat.
5. Ignoring the pain
Sciatic pain can start off as a momentary discomfort but can escalate to the point where it becomes a debilitating pain that makes everyday activities a struggle. If your sciatica is starting to impact your daily life or if you are worried about it worsening, consider visiting an Osteopath. Our team of dedicated professionals are on hand to discuss treatment plans and offer more advice on improving posture and relieving pain.
Contact us if you need help with a problem related to sciatica