Sciatica pain has a way of hijacking your entire well-being as you struggle with even the simplest movements that send shooting pain down your back and leg. When you develop sciatica, the initial pain is often the worst, but there are a few things you can do on your own to weather this storm while the inflammation and nerve irritation are at their worst.
Here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management, our team of highly trained spine experts understands the high level of pain that can come with a compromised sciatic nerve. While we can do our part to help you find relief, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to ease your road to recovery.
The sciatica problem
In order to better understand how a few tweaks in your lifestyle can make a difference in your sciatica pain, it’s helpful to step back and review what it is you’re dealing with. Sciatica pain isn’t a condition, but rather a symptom of irritation of your sciatic nerve.
It may come as no surprise that your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, which is made abundantly clear when it’s compromised. This nerve starts in your low back and branches out down both of your legs, which is why you may be feeling shooting pain or tingling and numbness in your lower extremities.
The most common cause of sciatic pain are spinal discs that have herniated or bulged out of their positions, irritating the large sciatic nerve root in your low back.
Weathering the pain
If you develop sciatica, and 40% of adults in the United States do at some point in their lives, there are a few steps you can take at home to minimize the discomfort.
First, frequent icing and heating may help to quiet the nerve, allowing you some measure of relief. As well, you should take the anti-inflammatory medications we recommend to reduce the inflammation around your nerve.
You’d also do well to avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you work at a desk, get up frequently and stretch your back. You can also perform a few simple exercises, like touching your toes, to take the pressure off your nerve.
When you are sitting, make sure you’re not hunching over. In fact, this might be a great time to practice better posture, which will not only relieve your immediate lower back problem, but serve you well down the road. By good posture, we mean keeping your back straight, your head up (you can raise your computer screen), and both feet squarely on the floor.
We also encourage movement when you’re in the midst of a sciatica problem. We know that movement may seem counterintuitive, but a little exercise goes a long way toward reducing inflammation by allowing your natural healing resources to flow more freely. Even a morning or evening walk can help.
Long-term solutions to avoid sciatica pain
If you want to avoid another episode of sciatica pain, there are also some steps you can take to help prevent sciatica from redeveloping, including:
- Losing weight
- Exercising more frequently
- Core strengthening
These long-term solutions for sciatica will help your entire spine in its role as the foundation for your musculoskeletal structure.
If you’re experiencing sciatica pain, please contact one of our two offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York, so we can come up with an appropriate treatment plan to get you moving, without pain, as quickly as possible.