What is sciatica? You’ve probably heard this term, maybe you’ve even experienced it. Sciatica refers to the pain that travels down the sciatic nerve. It is a common condition we treat and we’re going to break it down for you!
The sciatic nerve is actually a group of 5 lumbar spinal nerves that exit the spine at the pelvis. It runs down the buttocks to the back of the thigh and calf. There are variousfactors that can cause irritation, compression, or inflammation in the sciatic nerve, which can trigger sciatica. It usually affects only one side of the body and can result from an injury, or wear and tear through aging.
Signs of sciatic pain
Common signs of sciatica include pain, numbness or tingling sensation down the leg. Some people feel a sharp pain around their hip and a burning sensation on the leg. The pain may start slowly and get worse when performing certain tasks or activities like bending backward, after sitting or standing, when sneezing, coughing, and laughing.
Risk factors and causes
Here are a few reasons that can trigger sciatica:
- Sitting for long periods of time. As the modern lifestyle is becoming more sedentary, sitting for long hours can cause major issues in the spine. When we sit, our upper body weight rests on our lower back. Sitting for extended periods of time creates inflammation, which compresses the sciatic nerve.
- Herniated or degenerated discs
- Pain after an injury such as a road accident
- Sleeping on a mattress that is too hard or too soft
- Carrying extra body weight puts additional pressure on the spine, which can trigger sciatic pain.
Prevention & Care
- Exercising regularly and following a regimen to keep the back and spine strong, increase core strength and create stability for good posture and alignment.
- Stretching helps relief sciatic nerve pain. Check out these simple stretches!
- Maintaining good posture when sitting. It is advised to sit straight with shoulders rolled back and shoulder blades down, keeping legs hip distance apart and feet flat on the floor. Choosing a seat with good lumbar support and armrest. You could also use a small towel or pillow for lower back support.
- Using proper ergonomics when lifting weights; holding the load close to your body, don’t lift and twist at the same time.
- A good sleeping posture can prevent twisting of the spine or tucking in of the pelvis. A pillow tucked in between the legs helps keep the spine and pelvis in a neutral position.
- Getting chiropractic treatment and care is another way to manage sciatic pain. Chiropractors perform spinal manipulation and use other modalities like soft tissue therapy and manual therapy to help relieve various types of back pain. Research studies at National Institute of Health have found that chiropractic treatment can be a safe and effective way to alleviate sciatic pain. If you would like to know more about chiropractic treatment, check our website for more information or go online to book your next appointment.