As a major pathway between the brain and your legs, the sciatic nerves have a hefty job, transmitting sensations from your lower back to your toes, while also controlling muscle movement. Any interruption in the nerves’ data processing leads to problems for you, from aches and limited mobility to extreme pain and muscle weakness.
The collection of symptoms associated with sciatic nerve compression is called sciatica. You’ll likely experience a combination of the more common symptoms. Some people have pain in the buttock region of the lower back, usually on one side only, while others may also feel tingling or numbness through the hip and thigh. The effects of sciatica can extend to your feet in some cases, particularly if you put off treatment.
Once you’ve been treated for sciatica, it’s a safe bet you’d like to avoid further problems with your sciatic nerves if possible. While there’s always a chance that certain movements or medical conditions can create more sciatic nerve irritation, here are six things you can do to reduce your chances of sciatica recurrence.
Core muscle strength
The bones of your spine use the core muscles of your body for flexibility and support. When these muscles are in less than peak condition, you may be placing undue strain on the soft tissue of the spine, the ligaments and disks.
When a disk ruptures or a ligament is strained, the chances of your sciatic nerve being irritated by the damage increases. Adding core muscle exercises to a daily routine of 20 to 30 minutes significantly improves your chances for bypassing sciatica symptoms.
Attention to posture
As with exercise, attention to posture, whether sitting or standing, can help protect your sciatic nerves. A problem that was once confined to men who carried wallets in a hip pocket is now seen in anyone who routinely places a cell phone there. That slight tipping of your position while sitting can, over time, lead to imbalances and sciatic nerve compression.
Bending at the waist to lift any load is an invitation to back problems in general, and it’s a frequent culprit in the onset of sciatica. Balance lifting loads between your back muscles and those of your legs by bending at the knees too.
Sitting or standing for long periods of time can lead to conditions that may irritate your sciatic nerve. Take breaks from either position often. Chairs with good lumbar support help, but can’t save you from eight hours of sitting. The same is true of cushioned floor mats. Take breaks from your typical position often.
Stretching and warm-ups
Don’t forego those stretches before golf, tennis, or exertion at work. Light exercise ahead of the game promotes increased blood flow and prepares your muscles for additional demands. As we’ve seen with some of the other tips, your muscles are an important partner in avoiding sciatic nerve compression.
Regular chiropractic care
It’s common for sciatica sufferers to seek chiropractic care when their symptoms flare. Often, a chiropractic adjustment can provide near-instant relief and recovery of mobility. A series of adjustments over a few weeks is sometimes all that’s needed to return you to a pre-injury, pain-free condition.
However, chiropractic care isn’t just about occasional treatment of pain. The goal is to keep your body in balance so that it can care for itself with minimal need of additional intervention. That is, regular chiropractic treatments can help keep your sciatica symptoms from returning, not by “fixing” additional damage, but by keeping your body in alignment, allowing your natural healing systems to work at peak efficiency.
Contact Roxbury Spine and Wellness today, whether you have active sciatic nerve pain, or you simply want to improve your chances of avoiding future recurrence. Dr. Clayman can advise you about the best preventive measures you can take, and provide you the best in contemporary chiropractic care.