The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body. It runs down your lower back, splits in two at the base of your spine, and continues down each leg. If it gets irritated or compressed, it’s painful and can affect every aspect of your life.
Some people are at greater risk for this common condition, but there are steps you can take to prevent recurring sciatica. Sciatica symptoms include:
Fortunately, it’s possible to prevent sciatica from recurring.
While you may be at risk of sciatica for many reasons, including weight challenges, pinched nerves, or a sedentary lifestyle, you can make adjustments to prevent sciatic pain.
Sitting or standing tall makes you look confident and helps your body feel better. That’s because bodies are designed for alignment. Ideally, your body maintains equal weight distribution from the top of your head to your feet.
Of course, many people spend their days slouched or slumped in front of the computer, causing aches and pains.
Ergonomics is the science of designing spaces people work in the most. When your computer workspace is ergonomically friendly, you have a supportive chair, monitor at eye level, feet on the floor, and fingers tapping on a keyboard that allows your elbows to be 90 degrees. Maintaining good posture will reduce neck and shoulder pain and even sciatic pain.
Even a few pounds over your ideal body weight can stress your joints and spine and put you at risk of injury. Additionally, being overweight increases inflammation in the body, and inflammation leads to painful conditions like sciatica. Regular exercise, like walking or swimming, can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce sciatic pain.
Abdominal exercises aren’t just for a flatter stomach; they’re also essential for maintaining optimal posture and preventing injury. You can think of your core as spinal support — your back is protected when your spine is supported.
Gentle yoga and pilates help build core support.
Use proper lifting techniques to prevent injury if you lift weights. Too many enthusiasts start with the best intentions and end up hurting themselves or aggravating sciatic nerve pain. This is also true if you lift heavy objects at work.
Start by not overdoing the weight. Choose a weight you can lift a few times and with a full range of motion. It’s better to start lighter and have proper form than go too heavy and hurt yourself.
While sciatic pain isn’t always easy to diagnose, we can help you find pain relief at Spine & Pain Specialists of the Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can make an appointment through our online scheduling form.