10/10/2016 by GOLDI JACQUES-MAYNES
6 Tips to Help With Sciatica
Desk jobs, binge watching, long commutes — it all adds up to some major health risks. Prolonged sitting is linked to several serious illnesses — various types of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Prolonged sitting also contributes to low back and leg pain, known as Sciatica.
We see a lot of sciatica symptoms in our office.
Patients often complain of sharp, shooting pain that travels down the back of the leg to the knee or down into the calf or foot. Many people with chronic or long-term sciatica feel a dull ache into the leg. Symptoms are typically on one side of the body, but occasionally are felt bilaterally. Most people with sciatica also have low back pain, but not always.
There are a few common sciatica causes —
- Prolonged sitting
- Degenerative disc disease (breakdown of spinal discs)
- Piriformis syndrome (butt muscle tightness)
- Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
- Poor ergonomics combined with not enough movement
- Sitting on your wallet
Some professions encourage sciatica.
- Office workers and bus drivers who sit for prolonged periods of time
- Teachers, food servers, and hairdressers who stand all day
- Anyone doing the same thing over and over all day can develop repetitive or cumulative trauma injury
The good news — there are things you can do for sciatica pain.
Here are 6 tips for easing your sciatica pain.
1. 30/2 rule.
An easy to remember rule: for every 30 minutes of stationary posture, get up and move for two minutes. Move often and change positions frequently. Your muscles need oxygen. Moving around prevents hypoxia, which leads to tissue injury.
2. Drink water.
Lots of it. Around 8 glasses a day. You’ll have to pee often, which is a good motivator to get off your duff and walk to the bathroom. Plus, water is good for you.
3. Get body work.
Get adjusted. Get a massage. Try acupuncture. Cumulative micro-trauma causes your body to produce dense, tough scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker. Tension on tendons causes tendonitis. Nerves can become trapped, resulting in symptoms like burning, tingling, numbness and aching. Get a team of like-minded healthcare providers on your (back) side.
4. Re-hab your body.
Stabilizing and strengthening the body starts from the ground up. Treating sciatica often requires a lifestyle change on your end. You can’t just rely on passive care from your chiropractor or massage therapist. You’ve got to do your own active care and perform the stretches and make the lifestyle changes needed! Ask your chiropractor for exercises. Talk to your care provider about a Physical Therapy referral. Work with quality, experienced personal trainers.
5. Improve your ergonomics.
Try a standing desk. Many employers will gladly pay for a new desk to prevent workplace injuries. Your chiropractor will be able to write a letter requesting a better desk for your spinal health, as well.
6. Coordinate your care team.
I find that my patients get the best results when there is group effort between the patient and their health-care team. Talk to your medical doctor about taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, as well as other conservative treatments such as ice, heat, and/or acupuncture. Do the exercises we prescribe — contact us if you want to know specific exercises for you.
Sciatica is a pain, but there are things you can do. Like any musculoskeletal condition, sciatica requires medical care and lifestyle changes to get better. Take an active role in your treatment of sciatica, and you'll see improvement in your ability to move wihtout pain.
Need immediate help with your pain or a treatment plan?