The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in your body, so it’s no surprise that so many people have issues with it — a group of disorders called sciatica. Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve can cause pain in your lower back, tingling and numbness in your thigh, or weakness in your entire leg.
Many of the causes of sciatica can heal spontaneously, though the process is sometimes slow. A pain management specialist like myself, Dr. Franz Jones can help you over the rough spots, but when you’re not careful about some elements of your lifestyle, you may find yourself dealing with the same issues again and again.
You may not even realize that certain things you do could be aggravating your sciatica. With a few small changes, some of which may be surprising, you could find that the recurring sciatic nerve pain starts to ease up. This can save you discomfort, inconvenience, and time lost from both working and doing the things you love.
Both sitting and standing for long periods can take a toll on your health. Sitting especially risks sciatica problems. Yet, if you work or have hobbies that require frequent sitting, you may have tightness and pressure throughout your lower back that causes the anatomical breakdowns that lead to sciatic nerve irritation.
When too much time in a single position stretches on, set a reminder to change your position. If you’re sitting, get up and walk around. If you’re standing, walking is good, too, as is taking a few minutes off your feet. Adding 30 minutes of walking per day, five times a week, can reverse many of the ill effects of your time tied to a chair.
Wallet, phone, keys — it doesn’t matter. When you have an unbalanced load between your two back pockets, sitting down tilts your pelvis and increases the chance that you move in a way that puts pressure on your sciatic nerve. Whatever’s in your back pocket can push against the piriformis muscle, a near neighbor of the nerve.
If your wallet bulges with months of receipts and other contents, your problem can be even worse. Moving your wallet or phone to a front pocket may feel unusual, but for some people, it may be the primary reason they’re suffering from sciatica, even when medical science doesn’t list it as a cause.
Extra pounds, particularly when they’re stored on your belly, can be a sciatica nightmare. Your body is naturally cantilevered — that is, your spine is located at the rear and curved so it balances an invisible center of gravity. The more weight you carry out front, the greater the load on your spine and its support system.
And because of the cantilevering, 5 pounds of extra weight creates pressure loads that are far greater. There’s good news, though. The opposite is also true: Even a modest amount of weight loss creates a greater relief of pressure, lowering your risk of herniated discs and other soft tissue damage.
When the pain and mobility loss of sciatica overwhelms you, contact Franz Jones, DO at the nearest of his three offices. You can schedule a consultation over the phone or online. Book today to find relief fast.