Sciatic nerves are the two longest nerves in your body. They start at you lumbar spine and run right down to your anklebones. One for each leg. Sciatica pain can be caused by a myriad of things, from herniated disks to pregnancy and old sports injuries.
Sciatic pain is when these nerves are pinched, bruised, inflamed or otherwise unhappy due to internal pressure being applied along part of the nerve. Sciatic pain shows up in several varieties:
- Back Pain
- Weak Knees
- Difficulty standing
- An inability to flex your feet high enough to walk solely on your heels
- Burning in part of the leg or butt
- Numbness in the leg
Sciatic pain normally only shows up on one side of the body at a time and frequently goes away after 6-8 weeks. If you experience pain in both legs or if it continues for longer, you should see a doctor.
But What’s Bothering Your Sciatica?
So, you’ve got sciatic pain, but you’ve only just had it, and while you’re doing your stretches and applying topical treatments, what are you doing that makes it keep hurting?
Poor posture puts a lot of strain on your spine. Compacting your frame can aggravate (by applying more pressure) to your sciatic nerve.
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Ladies! I know they’re cute, but high heels aren’t good for your body. Anything with a heel higher than an inch and a half, shifts your body weight forward, throws your spine out of alignment and puts more strain on your legs and back.
This could be devastating news for committed belly-sleepers (me included). Sleeping on your belly puts a lot of strain on your spine and neck, aggravating your sciatica. If you’re suffering sciatic pain, try sleeping on your left side or back (with a pillow under your knees).
Sitting or Standing For Prolonged Periods.
Yep. Office work is bad for you. No surprise there. If you sit or stand without moving for long periods, this could be bothering your sciatica. Get up, do a toe touch, or rotate your toes outward (this will turn out your hips, possibly relieving certain types of sciatic pain)
If you do a lot of lifting in your job (kitchen work, factory work) you have to lift from your legs. The extra strain on your back can pull and stretch the sciatic nerves in the wrong ways.
Exercise is good for you, but not if you’re doing it wrong. It’s easy to do something like a squat badly and injure, or put strain on, your spine. I’m going to put high impact sports on this list too (Football, Soccer, Rugby, Ballet).
Lacking Core Strength
Okay, so this one isn’t technically an activity, more like a lack of one. Your back and stomach muscles need to be able to support your body to ease the strain on your spine. You can try crunches (not sit-ups, those are bad for you) where you lift your chest up and hold it. You can also try lying leg presses, which mean lying on your back, bringing your knees up like you’re sitting in a chair (feet off the floor) and pressing down with your hands while you press up with your legs.
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