Sciatica is the pain felt when the sciatic nerve is agitated due to bulging discs, inflammation, arthritis, or other condition or problem which causes pain, tingling, and numbness radiating from the lower back down the leg(s). According to statistics, around 40 percent of all people in U.S. will suffer from sciatica at some point in their life.
Sciatica is uncomfortable, painful, and debilitating condition which can interfere with your daily activities. In some cases, sciatica sufferers might even need a cane to move around.
In this post, you will learn 10 tricks to relieve your sciatic pain and support your back.
1. Strengthen Your Abs, Core, and Torso Muscles
You need to have a strong and stable core to support the rest of your body. You can achieve that by doing simple stretches, exercises, and even yoga.
2. Change Your Routines
Doing the same movements over and over again can weaken your muscles, putting more strain on your lower back and aggravating your sciatica pain. Use your pillow in a different way, go for a walk, sit in a different position, or carry your bag on a different shoulder.
Keep changing your routines by trying new things to keep yourself mentally and physically active. Although this might be hard for you at first, as we are all creatures of habit, and do things the same way year after a year, don’t give up and be persistent! Trying something new and breaking up the old patterns can make a huge difference.
3. Commit to Better Posture
Another bad everyday habit that is not easy to change. When you are tired, it’s probably hard to sit up straight, with your feet flat on the floor and your mobile phone or computer at a proper height.
You must try avoiding the neck, back, and core problems you cause when looking down at your mobile phone. So, whenever you notice yourself slumping forward, open up your chest by taking deep breath. Imagine a rod is going down your spine while pointing the top of your head upwards. Your hips and shoulders should be equally balanced.
You might be sore at the beginning, but don’t forget that it takes time to build up your muscles that will enable a good posture for your body. A great trick is using an exercise ball, as recommended by Dr. Sean Roden. When sitting on one of these balls you are balancing your body by keeping a good posture. This is a quick way to build up your posture muscles and core muscles all at once.
A great way to prevent over-staining and keep everything loose is doing stretches. Dr. Sean Roden recommends another great tip for treating lower back problems. He says stretching and rolling out the hamstring muscles can be really helpful in such cases.
Your waist can bend only around 60 percent when bending forward. So, if you need to bend more, you have to pivot forward to compensate. But, you will risk overstraining your back if your hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh are tight. Try stretching, massaging, or use a roller to take care of your legs in order to help them support your back and alleviate your sciatic pain.
5. Lift Properly
You must care about your back when lifting some heavy object. Lifting some object while your body is at a wrong angle can cause great damage and leave painful scar tissue that is hard to overcome.
Use a dolly or tool when lifting a heavy object, such as a large box or a gallon of water. Lift using your leg muscles and not your back, and make sure you have a stable posture. Don’t pick any object by bending forward at the waist. Even if you have to lift something light, its weight will increase by the time it getsto your back, increasing the risk of straining something. Another way is to ask for help.
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6. Take Time to Relax
Relieving stress can greatly affect your sciatica pain. If you think stress is totally unrelated to sciatica, you are wrong. Stress increases the acidity in the body, causing inflammation and more pain.
Great ways to relieve your stress is meditation, reading a good book, taking a nice bubble bath, or simply taking deep breaths. Also, you can learn some tools for managing stress. At some point in your life you may feel like carrying the weight of the world on your back. This can cause body aches, so the best way is to relax by taking some time for yourself, or asking for help.
7. Lighten Your Load
Do you really need all the items that are in your bag or backpack? Take a closer look at them, and decide which is not necessary to lighten your load.
But, if you can’t decide what to exclude, and you need to carry a lot of items with you, get a more back friendly backpack or bag. If you carry a bag, switch your shoulders more often, and take breaks to rest your back.
8. Wear the Right Shoes and Use Orthotics
You should always wear comfortable and right shoes to provide proper support for your back. Using some arch supports or other shoe inserts can further improve your posture and back condition.
With every step you take, the impact from your feet goes up your legs into the base of your spine. Wearing good quality orthopedic shoes will bring positive changes in the way you feel. This explains why you need to avoid wearing flip flops, high heels, and other shows which don’t support your back. Wear them only when needed, such as some special occasions.
9. Wear an Abdominal Binder
If you are about to do some physical activity, wearing an abdominal binder or a back brace can help you a lot. In this way, you will provide support for your back and joints, and prevent possible injuries.
However, don’t wear it all the time since that can weaken your muscles. Just wear it for short periods of time when trying to build up your core muscles, and then only in case of intense physical labor.
10. Pay Attention to Your Exercise Routine
Don’t forget to pay attention to your body and notice for any pain when cleaning your house, exercising, or doing yoga. Certain amount of muscle soreness is normal after exercise, but it should disappear within several days.
If you notice pain when doing some specific moves, you might need to do less intense exercise or adaptation moves to strengthen and support your body. Your pain is there for a reason and you need to prevent it from worsening.
Certain things like changed barometric pressure can also cause nerve and joint flare-ups. Therefore, you need to go easy on your body during these time periods in order to prevent aggravating your existing problem.
In case your pain is constant and gets only worse, you should consult your doctor.