If you’ve experienced the pain or numbness of sciatica, you’re not alone! According to Harvard Health Publishing, sciatica can affect as many as 40% of people, especially in older adults. Web MD defines sciatica as a pain beginning in the lower back which can travel down to the legs as well as the feet. While the causes of sciatica vary, it results in the sciatica nerve being compressed – whether it’s from a bone spur or a herniated disk. It is difficult for those with sciatica pain to continue with their usual way of life. In light of this, we wanted to share tips on how to manage your sciatica pain.
1. Avoid sitting for long periods of time
- When you sit, more stress is placed on your spinal disc. As a result, be sure to break up long periods of sitting by standing, stretching, and going on short walks.
2. Use heat pads or ice packs
- Try using inexpensive heating pads on a low or medium setting throughout the day. Be sure to read the instructions before using the heating pad as you may want to avoid placing the heating pad directly on your skin.
- Some people alternate between heating pads and ice packs, or just rely on using ice packs.
- Check out the video below to learn how to make your own gel ice pack at home
3. Apply pressure to your back
- Spine Health suggests trying to place a tennis ball between your chair and lower back. Then, you can place pressure on your muscles by pressing against the ball, which may help relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve roots. An alternate is taping two tennis balls on the ground and lying on top of them.
4. Embrace lifestyle changes
- Healthline encourages small changes in your daily habits to help prevent any sciatica related flare-ups. Some of these suggestions include regular exercise to maintain strength in your back, as well as being mindful of practicing good posture. Also, wearing supportive shoes may help with your posture.
5. Meet with a physical therapist
- A physical therapist can develop a tailored plan of care for you based on your recovery goals. This plan of care will likely involve a stretching and exercise routine to strengthen your core and back muscles, which can help improve your posture and take pressure off the sciatic nerve.
- Physical therapy can also help prevent future flare-ups of sciatica.
Sciatica is a painful condition, but there are ways to find relief from its symptoms. Typically, your pain will be gone within a few weeks. If it persists, talk to your doctor about your condition.
In need of physical therapy in the Sacramento region? Call us today to begin your recovery with physical therapy!
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