Sciatica is a common yet misunderstood type of pain; it refers to pain that travels along the sciatic nerve path. As many as 40% of people experience sciatic pain during their life, and it becomes frequent with age. Sciatica tends to get lumped in with regular low back discomfort, but this is a different type of pain. Unlike back pain which is localized, sciatica Shrewsbury pain travels from the lower back, through the hips, buttocks, and down one or both legs. The pain often goes away within a few hours or days, but some attacks last longer. Fortunately, the tips below can help you prevent sciatica and relieve the pain.
Exercise tops the list for sciatica prevention methods but can also help relieve pain. The following activities can help you cope with sciatica.
- Aerobic exercises. These simple activities include walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, cycling, and other activities that increase your heart rate. These activities should not cause more pain if you already have sciatica.
- Flexibility training. Activities such as tai chi, yoga, and Pilates can increase your muscles’ strength and flexibility.
- Strength training. It involves using weights, free weights, or isometric exercises to cause muscle contraction without noticeable movement.
Any exercise that you enjoy and can do regularly can be helpful. You can explore something new, revisit an old favorite, or enjoy both.
Avoid prolonged hours of sitting
Sitting for prolonged periods puts pressure on the discs and ligaments in the low back. As such, it increases your risk of a herniated disc, a common cause of sciatic pain. If your job requires you to sit for several hours, take frequent breaks and walk around; this helps take pressure off your spinal discs. Besides sciatica, sitting for a long time can also result in back pain. Therefore, invest in an ergonomic chair and take frequent breaks to prevent back pain and sciatica.
Strengthen your core
Your core, including your abdomen and back muscles, significantly contribute to the stability of your back. Having a stronger core is, therefore, vital for your spinal health. Besides your abdominal and back muscles, the pelvis and buttocks are also part of your core. When these muscles are strong, they better support your spine and reduce your risk of sciatica. Various exercises, including yoga and Pilates, are great for strengthening your core muscles. Planks and brides are also movements that specifically target the core.
Practice good posture
Slouching is bad for your back since it causes pressure on your back. Ensure you keep your back and shoulders straight when sitting or walking. Always pay attention to your body’s position to maintain the natural curve of your spine. You can also prevent slouching by pulling your shoulders down and back as if your shoulder blades are touching. If you work at a computer, position your monitor at eye level; ensure you don’t have to bend your head or tilt it back.
Smoking has numerous negative impacts, including accelerating disc degeneration. When you stop smoking, you also lower your risk of severe illnesses, including lung and colon cancers.
If the above tips don’t relieve your pain, visit your doctor at The Center for the Functional Restoration of the Spine for medical treatment to improve your quality of life.