5 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sciatica Pain

Did you know that sciatica is heavily influenced by your lifestyle?

Most cases of sciatic pain are caused by a herniated disc pushing against the sciatic nerve. The discs in your spine can herniate due to age-related wear and tear, a physically demanding job, carrying too much weight, or sitting for prolonged periods. 

Other potential contributors to sciatic pain include arthritis, narrowing of the spinal canal, compressed discs (DDD), and sports injuries. 

To help you out, our team at One Accord Physical Therapy in Arizona put together a list of five lifestyle changes that can help you relieve sciatic pain

1. Strengthen your core--> Motion is Lotion

Lifting heavy weights without having enough strength in your upper body can lead to sciatica. When you experience sciatic pain, you may have the urge to avoid exercising altogether, but this won’t bring relief to your lower back.

A strong core keeps your spine stable and improves your posture. The key is to challenge your body without injuring it. 

As much as you want to lay in bed all day due to the immense pain that sciatica can bring most people feel much better if they incorporate regular, short bouts of movement into their day.  This can be walking, gentle stretching or light exercise.  Take it slow at first; try one of the following and don’t be afraid of a little discomfort if it settles down when you rest: 

  1. 2-5 minutes of walking at a slow, steady pace.  
  2. Gentle stretching:

2. Alternate between sitting and standing 

Sitting for extended periods damages your spine by putting too much pressure on the discs in your lower back. 

If your job involves a lot of sitting, consider alternating between a standing and a sitting desk, or take short breaks from sitting every 50 minutes.

3. Avoid sustained static positions. 

We live in a society that promotes static postures.  Changing positoins

If you work in front of a computer or laptop, position the screen at eye level so you won’t have tilt your neck to see it.

4.  Lose Weight

Disc degeneration is more common and more severe in overweight and obese people because the more you weigh, the more pressure your spine feels. 

Not sure whether you can benefit from losing weight? Calculate your BMI to find out if you’re in a healthy weight range. 

5. Look into over the counter foot orthotics  

Ditching uncomfortable shoes goes without saying. However, there’s an additional step you can take to ensure that your shoes provide enough support.  Trying an over the counter foot orthotic may help if you are on your feet most of the day.

Foot orthotics are shoe inserts designed to correct your posture. A 2017 study found that wearing customized shoe inserts improved lower back pain and function within six weeks.  

Seek expert advice for sciatic pain

If you want to relieve your sciatic pain, contact one of our offices in Phoenix, Gilbert, Casa Grande, or Mesa, Arizona, and schedule an appointment. 

Depending on your goals and the severity of your sciatica, our team can help you with holistic therapies, exercises, medications, and surgery.

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