Sciatica affects as many as 40% of people at least once in their lifetime.
As painful as this condition is, we’re right there with you in finding ways to prevent this pain from affecting your lifestyle.
We listed three measures to prevent Sciatica along with signs/cases to note when you should immediately consult a doctor.
Immediate Relief for Sciatica Pain
Ice packs and heating pads can provide immediate relief for sciatic nerve pain. There are many ways to relieve sciatic pain, but alternating therapy is one of the quickest and most effective methods.
In addition, ice packs can help reduce inflammation, while warmth through a heating pad will encourage blood flow for you to feel less discomfort when coping with muscle spasms and other joint issues that arise from an impacted area.
Prevent Sciatica from Happening
As luck would have it, there isn’t too much to preventing sciatica beyond the usual healthful practices already encouraged by doctors.
Nevertheless, it would be good to pay particular attention to:
- Your posture.
- What kind of exercises do you practice.
- Staying away from certain foods.
Proper Posture (Apply This Daily)
Conscious posture is perhaps the most important of suggested sciatica prevention measures.
More often than not, our posture while walking, standing, sitting, or even just lying down needs to be corrected.
Of course, you’ll want to keep your back straight without overextending your lower back, hips, or knees. You’ll also want to watch out for turtle neck.
These lousy posture habits can add extra pressure and weight to your lower back, resulting in the pinching of the nerves and the recurring back pain of sciatica.
Suppose you’re not exactly sure what about your posture may need correcting. In that case, it might be good to see a chiropractor instruct you on the correct position of your hips and knees.
Sciatica Exercises Using the Right Techniques
Keeping busy with physical activities keeps excess fat off and releases endorphins that help fight pain!
More importantly, it will also strengthen your body to hold up and maintain the proper posture. However, there are specific exercises for those experiencing sciatica.
It’s essential to work out your core and back muscles. Good exercises for these include:
- Water Aerobics
Yoga and pilates are disciplines that are all about posture, strength, and flexibility, making them ideal for those wanting to prevent sciatica.
The reclining pigeon pose is a favorite yoga pose for those concerned with sciatica.
It’s a simple pose: lie on your back and bend one knee to make a figure 4 with your legs (making sure to do this alternately).
Pilates will teach you how to properly lie on your back for floor exercises that prevent back injury.
If these exercises seem a little too challenging or you’re worried about worsening former injuries, even a simple walk would be great!
Ensure you do so with proper posture, keeping a soft bend at the knee. Also, don’t forget to stretch your legs, hips, and even your knees before and after walking.
You’ll also want to prevent the calf from tightening too much (a common side effect of walking), so do stretches for them too!
Water aerobics is another exercise that is distinctly great for people with past injuries. Swimming around in the water is excellent therapy and training that won’t strain your back or knees!
Don’t hesitate to consult a chiropractor for practical exercises that soothe your sciatic pain.
Choose the Right Diet
Besides keeping excess weight and pressure out of the nerve, a proper diet will help supplement and feed the muscles for better posture.
Some studies have also shown that certain foods can cause inflammation in sciatica.
You’ll want to avoid foods high in saturated fat, such as:
- Fried and processed foods
- High-fat dairy products
- Fatty red meats
These measures are also excellent practices for patients hoping to relieve sciatica pain.
Luckily, even if you ever suffer from sciatica, it will usually go away over a couple of weeks without much intervention.
That is, as long as you take good care of yourself and follow the preventive measures mentioned above, patients can avoid flare-ups and get rid of their pain for good!
Suppose the preventive measures we listed above aren’t relieving the pain. In that case, our next section below walks you through severe cases of sciatica and what you should do about it.
Severe Cases: When to See Your Doctor for Sciatica Pain
There are cases where the pain may grow unbearable for some patients.
Some might be vigilant with their back and leg stretches with no improvements, while others may be in too much pain to even try and stretch!
If you’ve tried everything you could to prevent it from worsening to no avail, contacting your doctor for advice is the best course of action.
Besides prescribing pain relief medication, your doctor may recommend seeing a nutritionist, a chiropractor for more intense and supervised therapy or even an inversion table.
Am I At Risk for Sciatica?
Most people that are likely to suffer from sciatica are:
- Those with physically demanding jobs, such as drivers and carpenters.
- Deficient in vitamin B12.
It may also be more likely with a former injury— like in the knee— that can also affect posture or with a family history of sciatica.
But if none of those apply to you, you’re otherwise very healthy and stay away from unsupervised strenuous exercises. So it’s not likely you’ll suffer from sciatica!
Suffering From Sciatica: What Is the Sciatic Nerve?
Now that you’ve learned how to prevent sciatica let’s dive deeper into this condition.
Sciatica pain is caused by the pinching of the sciatic nerve, which causes pain to radiate anywhere (usually on one side only) along where the sciatic nerve branches out.
The sciatic nerve is the largest in the human body, made up of 5 nerve roots joined at the bottom of the spine.
It branches out to the buttocks, the back of the thigh, and finally, the heels and soles of the feet. This nerve is vital in connecting the spine to the skin and muscles of the legs and feet.
Sciatica pain can feel different for each patient. Still, it will usually hurt along one buttock down the leg, foot, and toes on the same side.
Sciatica pain is usually accompanied by numbness, tingling, and weakness shooting down the leg. It’s also common for a sciatica patient to experience knee pain and cramping.
Sciatic nerve pain can also be caused by the irritation and inflammation of the nerve, which results from various conditions such as:
- Herniated discs or bone spurs
- Degenerated changes in the spine
- Dislocation of vertebrae
- Tight muscles in the buttocks
These conditions aside, it’s also widespread for people whose occupations involve staying or sitting for long periods in the same position or those who are overweight.
Excess body weight or subjecting the back to uncomfortable placements can add pressure on the nerve and cause sciatica.
What Causes Sciatica Buttock Pain?
An inflamed or overused piriformis muscle can cause Sciatica buttock pain. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the piriformis muscle and its relationship to sciatica pain. The pressure on the Sciatic nerve could lead to symptoms such as numbness or tingling down your leg when you walk upstairs, dash, or sit for too long- all things which may worsen during activities where weight bearing is necessary, like walking around outside with no shoes on.
Health truly is wealth-getting up every day to take care of yourself and do your stretches can be hard work but is also so rewarding.
In a way, preventing sciatica is not just physical therapy. It’s also about putting your mind at ease from the fear of the possibility of suffering from excruciating pain!
We hope this article helped you relieve sciatica worries you may have had and answered your questions on sciatica.