Most people have two worthy goals when they experience a flare of sciatica: stop the pain now and prevent it from happening again.
Diagnosing, treating, and preventing painful spinal disorders like sciatica is what we do here at Integrity Spine and Orthopedics in Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately, we can’t promise you’ll always be able to avoid sciatica, but there’s much you can do to minimize its interference in your life.
Check this information from our team about what causes sciatica and five tips for preventing a flare-up.
Sciatica is the result of compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve. Although the compression usually occurs at the nerve root where it exits the spine in the lower (lumbar) back, pain and other symptoms can occur anywhere along the nerve.
Common causes of sciatica include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and other conditions encroaching on the sciatic nerve. You can’t always prevent these sciatica triggers. However, you can focus on reducing your risks by protecting your spine health.
Try these practical suggestions from our Integrity Spine & Orthopedics team to reduce your risks of sciatica:
One of the primary causes of sciatica is poor posture, which places excessive strain on the lower back and spine. Maintaining proper posture while sitting, standing, and walking can significantly reduce the risk of sciatica flare-ups.
Engaging in regular exercise is vital for overall health and can also help prevent sciatica. Incorporate exercises that strengthen your core muscles, such as yoga, Pilates, or specific back-strengthening exercises.
A strong core provides stability and support to your lower back, reducing the risk of nerve compression. Additionally, low-impact aerobic exercises like swimming or walking can help improve blood circulation, maintain a healthy weight, and alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Body mechanics refers to how you hold your body when you’re in motion. Adopting proper body mechanics in your daily activities is crucial for preventing sciatica flare-ups.
For instance, when bending or lifting objects, always use your legs rather than bending at the waist. Bend your knees and keep your back straight to minimize stress on your lower back.
In addition, avoid sudden or jerky movements that can strain your back muscles and potentially aggravate the sciatic nerve. By being mindful of your body mechanics, you can reduce the risk of triggering sciatica symptoms.
If you have a sedentary job or spend long hours sitting, taking regular breaks and incorporating stretching exercises into your routine can help prevent sciatica.
Prolonged sitting can cause muscle stiffness and compression of the sciatic nerve. Stand up, walk around, and stretch every 30-60 minutes to relieve tension and promote healthy circulation.
Excess weight stresses the spine and can contribute to sciatica symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help alleviate the pressure on your lower back.
And if you’re currently experiencing problems with sciatica or are interested in medical guidance unique to your needs, we’re happy to help. Schedule an evaluation at Integrity Spine & Orthopedics today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.