Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sciatica Pain

Sciatica usually occurs because of a problem in your lower back or an extremely tight muscle in your hip. Regardless of the cause, you experience pain, tingling, and burning that run down your buttocks and into your leg. Sometimes, the pain makes its way to your calf and foot. 

Modifying your day-to-day activities and adopting new strategies can help you manage this nerve pain. At Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care, we can help you make these behaviors part of your routine so you can avoid or minimize future episodes.

Adjust activity but stay active

Don’t stop moving — sitting still actually aggravates sciatica pain and weakens muscles, slowing your recovery. However, avoid activities that aggravate pain. This includes excessive or forceful bending and twisting, lifting heavy objects, and sitting or standing for long periods of time.

Do engage in low-impact exercises, like walking, swimming, cycling, or slow jogging and balance exercises. We can help you develop an exercise and physical therapy routine to do at home. 

Lose weight if you’re overweight

Getting to a healthy weight can relieve excess pressure on your spinal muscles and discs, which in turn put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Even modest weight loss can reduce inflammation and ease sciatica. 

If you smoke, quit

Smoking seems to contribute to disc degeneration, which can make sciatica worse. And, if you undergo any treatments like surgery for back pain, smoking greatly inhibits healing. 

Sleep smartly

Invest in a good, firm mattress; work with a reputable seller to find one that feels best for you. When you do sleep, try to stay on your side or your back rather than on your tummy. If you do sleep on your side, wedge a pillow between your legs for support. 

Avoid sitting

If you can help it — don’t sit down for long periods of time. For patients with a desk job or who spend a lot of time driving, we recommend taking frequent breaks to get up and stretch. Sitting causes compression in the discs, compounding pain in your irritated nerve. 

Create comfort in your environment

Avoid wearing high heels as they distort your gait and can irritate your low back and sciatica. If you must drive or sit for long periods of time, use a lumbar support pillow. Don’t sit with a wallet or phone in your back pocket. 

Stretch your body

Sciatica pain can’t be cured, but it sure can be relieved, with regular stretching. We can recommend movements that help your body naturally flow. These may be physical therapy stretches or a gentle yoga practice. 

Massage goes a long way 

Massage can help you find relief from sciatica. It eases muscle tension, helps you release endorphins, and promotes better circulation. We can help you find a massage therapist. 

Ice away

Alternating hot and cold therapy can help sciatica pain. Apply an ice pack for 10-15 minutes to your low back and then follow with 20-30 minutes of penetrating heat from a heating pad. This helps ease tight muscles and promote healing. 

If pain persists for more than a few weeks and continues to be severe even when following these lifestyle changes, contact Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care for other therapies like injections or pain-relieving medications. We can also determine if surgery might be the best course of action for you. 

Call for an appointment or use the online tool to book. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Keep Your Spine Healthy

Your spine is the axis of your body. Take care of it to avoid back pain and subsequent pain in your arms, shoulders, legs, and hips. Here’s some tips to follow to keep your back in tip-top shape.

Help! My Back Surgery Didn’t Help

After you go through back surgery, you expect your pain and dysfunction to all but disappear. For some people, though, pain and other back problems resurface almost immediately or a few months after surgery. Here’s what to do when back surgery fails.

Sciatica Causes and Treatments

There are a number of reasons for an aggravated sciatica, a large nerve extending from your lower back down the back of each leg. Sciatica happens when trauma or a medical condition increases pressure on your sciatic nerve.

6 Common Sports Injuries

As an active person, you’re vulnerable to injury but they can be avoided by implementing smart strategies. Read on to learn more about some of the most common injuries, how you can avoid them, and what treatment entails if you do suffer one.