As one of the most misunderstood types of pain, sciatica pain requires more awareness.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 21, 2019. It has since been updated.
According to Mayo Clinic, sciatica pain originates from the sciatic nerve in the lower back and passes through the hips and buttocks onto thighs and legs. A typical sciatica pain only affects one side of the body.
As Harvard Health puts it, it is one of the most common, yet misunderstood, types of pain. It is mostly confused with normal back pain as the attacks are sudden and go away by itself in a few hours. But at times, it continues for days or months. Once it is diagnosed correctly, you can take certain measures to relieve yourself of the pain and also keep it from recurring frequently.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising is pretty much the key to keep sciatica pain at bay. It helps you strengthen your back and also improves posture. General exercise also helps build your overall strength, which builds your immunity and pain tolerance. Start with any form of exercise you are comfortable with. It could be walking, dancing, yoga, aerobics, or cycling. Flexibility exercises such as pilates, tai chi or yoga are known to heal sciatica pain, according to Harvard Health.
Muscles in the back, sides, pelvis, and buttocks also are part of your core. According to Harvard Health, exercising to strengthen these muscles can support your spine, improve spinal health, and abdominal area. This, in turn, can help with sciatica pain. Planks, bridges, boat pose, etc. are great to build your core. Please talk to your doctor to understand which exercises can help you best without causing further pain.
Multiple studies have shown that sitting for long hours has an adverse impact on not only your spinal health and postures but also your overall health. Dr. David Petron, a sports-medicine physician says, "The most common reason is really prolonged sitting. We're not designed to sit for hours at length," in a University of Utah report. It stresses your ligaments and discs which can cause chronic back and lower back pain. As per Harvard Health, it is advisable to take a break from sitting and move around or maybe just stand for some time. If you have a job that requires you to sit for long hours, you should try to stand and work intermittently.
Sciatica pain arises from excessive pressure on the spine and lower back, and according to Spine Universe, being overweight can increase your chances of having it. More importantly, if you are suffering from sciatica pain, being overweight can slow down the healing process. It also increases your chance of herniated discs. Even minor weight loss will reduce inflammation and pressure on the spine.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is important to pay attention to your posture and work towards having a good posture. Slouching or bending your neck for a long time can cause spine inflammation. Pull your shoulder down and back up, intermittently. Sit straight and stand straight. Position your chair or computer monitor in a way that would help you sit straight and not slouch or bend back. Be aware of tension in the neck and back and do a couple of stretches before you get back to the right posture.