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The Do’s and Don’ts of Sciatica

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A human doll model with one arm posed behind its back as though it was suffering from sciatica.

Most cases of sciatica are caused by a herniated disc in the lower back. Herniated discs can happen for many reasons, many of which may even be out of a person’s control. The most common cause in healthy individuals occurs when they become pregnant. Like a herniated disc, pregnancy can put a ton of pressure on the sciatic nerve located around the hips and lower back.

Many sufferers of sciatica struggle to get out of the bed in the morning due to excruciating pain. Some may even struggle to go through the day without taking pain medication. The lasting back pain from sciatica is something many people deal with. However, with a little help, it’s possible to reduce or even get rid of back pain.

Sciatica Pain: Don’t Sit for Long Periods of Time

Sciatica pain occurs when the sciatic nerve is under pressure from either a herniated disc or pregnancy. While many of us have jobs that require us to sit for long periods of time, sitting down can worsen pain or make it happen more often. Fortunately, standing desks and chairs help sufferers to be more comfortable and help with posture. Plus, they are popular in offices.

If you suffer from sciatica pain, then standing at your desk while you work may help relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Likewise, having a good office chair that promotes proper posture could stop your pain. Though both of these methods will help sciatica pain occur less frequently, they don’t really cure the issue of having sciatica.

Also, Do Not Be Inactive

We all know that living an active lifestyle is important. However, living a healthy lifestyle can actually deter sciatica pain if done properly. Many people face sciatica pain due to a herniated disc in the back. One reason spinal discs herniate is due to weak back muscles that don’t support the spine properly. When the spine does not have the support of strong back muscles, herniated discs can occur.

Though you aren’t supposed to lift heavy objects with your back and instead your legs, having strong back muscles protects you against herniated disks caused by lifting objects. To strengthen your back muscles, you can do light exercising with good form. Many people who suffer from this type of back pain actually benefit greatly from doing yoga in the morning. This helps to stretch the back muscles and strengthen them by using only body weight.

Do Use Heat or Cold to Relieve Sciatica Pain

While many people suffering from sciatica want to reach for an over the counter pain medicine to relieve their pain, a better alternative to reducing pain is to use either heating or cooling packs. Frequent use of pain medication is not good for the liver or stomach and can even cause stomach ulcers. Try to reach for either a heating pad or a cold pack instead!

Heating pads can help to soothe sore muscle that might be tense and cause pressure to be put on the sciatic nerve. Cooling packs, however, can help to reduce the inflammation of the muscle surrounding the sciatic nerve. It’s also possible to alternate heating and cooling using cold and heat therapy. If you decide to use either heat or cold, make sure to cycle them on and off about every 15 minutes to reduce the risk of skin damage.

Cold packs can make your skin go numb and even give minor frostbite so make sure to cover them up in an old shirt or towel before using them. Also, always make sure to use the protective cloth that comes with most heating pads in order to avoid burning yourself.

Do Consider Physical Rehabilitation

You may have never heard of physical rehabilitation before, but it can help give you relief from sciatica pain. Physical rehabilitation is used all across the world to relieve back pain. It uses natural methods rather than methods that could hurt you in the long-term. Most physical rehabilitation clinics specialize in rehabilitating patients from sports injuries, back pain, car accidents, and even sciatica. Since the pain often originates in back muscles or spine, physical rehabilitation is often very effective at reducing the pain experienced from it. This is because physical rehabilitation doesn’t seek to simply cover up the pain felt.

It seeks to fix the source of the problem. People who experience sciatica due to herniated disks have the most to lose if they don’t seek physical rehabilitation as herniated disks may require surgery if they become worse. However, physical rehabilitation can help quite a bit to deter herniated disks reaching the point where they need to be corrected by surgery.

How a Chiropractor Can Help Your Sciatica Pain

Part of the way physical rehabilitation can help people with sciatica pain is by the use of a chiropractor. The chiropractor’s main goal for each of their patients is to correct the alignment of their spine to its natural state. Over time, your spine loses its straightness. It curves due to things like slouching and weakening back muscles. Also, if you’re thinking only adults are at risk for curved spines, that’s just not the case anymore. Children who are in school have to carry heavy backpacks, which can change the curvature of the spine over time.

Luckily, no matter your age, A Family Chiropractic Clinic is here to help you solve your back pain! We work with many patients who suffer from moderate to severe back pain daily. And, we get to see the results of our efforts all the time. Our staff believes that chiropractic rehabilitation can help many of the people that come through our doors with back pain, whether it’s due to sciatica or an injury. We look at all of our patients on an individual basis, so we know exactly what to work on and how to help them.

If you’re interested in healing your sciatica, give A Family Chiropractic Clinic a call at (940) 566-0000!