Sciatica is a painful condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve in the lower back becomes pinched or inflamed. Conditions, such as herniated disc or spinal stenosis, can compress the nerve, causing pain, tingling, numbness, and other symptoms originating in the lower back and moving to the buttock, back of the leg, or even down to the toes. Luckily, there are ways to effectively prevent sciatica, which can be a symptom of a lower back problem, not necessarily a condition in itself. Here, IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics offers insight into and tips for sciatica prevention.
Understanding the Causes and Risk Factors
To help prevent sciatica, it’s helpful to understand the various causes and risk factors. Sciatica can stem from a number of causes, most frequently the result of a herniated disc, bone spur, or another spinal issue. Rarely, the nerve may be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease like diabetes. Risk factors include:
- Prolonged sitting
While you can’t control your age or genetic traits, you can make lifestyle changes to manage others so you can reduce the likelihood and severity of sciatica.
Methods for Sciatica Prevention
There are a few measures you can take that are very effective for preventing and minimizing the discomfort caused by sciatica. In healthy individuals, mild sciatica may go away on its own, but others may find that their condition won’t resolve itself or continues to worsen. To avoid the need for medical intervention, consider the following tips:
Get Enough Exercise
One of the best ways to prevent sciatica is remaining active. Not only does physical activity get you out of your seat, but it also strengthens your muscles. Additionally, it is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, which also reduces the risk of sciatica.
Maintain Good Posture
Maintaining the natural shape of the back while standing and sitting will go a long way in preventing sciatica or reducing its severity. Keep your shoulders over your hips and your neck straight, and align your hips, knees, and heels while standing. Using a cushion or rolled-up towel to support the lower back while sitting is also helpful.
Practice Correct Body Mechanics
When you lift things, keep your back straight and use your legs to lift. Avoid twisting while lifting, and get a partner if the load is too heavy or awkward. Sit with good posture, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees level with your hips. If you stand for long periods at a time, occasionally rest one foot on a stool or box to reduce strain on your back.
Learn More about Sciatica Prevention
Abiding by these sciatica prevention rules can prevent issues down the line as well as provide relief for your current pain. If an underlying condition, like a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, is the cause, treatment by a medical professional is the best course of action. IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics specializes in spine health to help you live your life without pain. For more information about sciatica prevention or receiving treatment in New Jersey or New York, contact us today.