Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, which is made perfectly clear when it’s been compromised. If you’re in the midst of a sciatica attack, your primary goal is to restore pain-free movement in your lower back and legs.
Here at LA Pain Doctor, our team of experienced providers, led by Drs. Firas Hijazi and Satvik Munshi, offers a wide range of treatments that can help you find relief from your sciatica, but there’s much you can do on your own.
With that in mind, here are some lifestyle changes you can try at home to ease a current sciatica attack and prevent another one from recurring.
Sit (and stand) up straight
One of the best ways to improve your sciatica is to relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve, which you can accomplish by simply correcting your posture, especially if you spend hours seated at a desk. To give this large nerve more room, try the following tips when you’re seated at your desk
- Sit with your back straight and your shoulders back and slide your bottom to the back of the chair.
- Keep both of your feet flat on the floor
- Move your computer close enough so you don’t have to lean over and elevate your screen to eye level.
If you stand for long periods during the day, posture is key here, too. Make sure your back is straight with your shoulders back and try and avoid curving your lower back in too much (pushing your stomach out).
Sleep in the right position
It’s just as important to support your back during the night as it is during the day. The first step is to sleep on a mattress that provides enough support for your spine. You should also avoid sleeping on your stomach — try sleeping on your back, instead, with a leg pillow tucked under your legs below your knees. You can also sleep on your side, as well, but try placing a pillow between your legs to get your spine into a neutral position.
Stretch it out
One of the best ways to relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve and the surrounding muscle tension is to incorporate stretching exercises throughout the day. Even if you take short breaks to stretch out and touch your toes, you’ll be doing a world of good for your sciatica.
We can provide you with a great list of stretching exercises that are specifically designed to relieve your sciatica pain.
Move it out
Your body is meant for movement, which helps keep your spinal joints lubricated so nutrients and fluids can flow through your discs. As well, the lubrication helps keep the spinal canal open, avoiding excess pressure on your sciatic nerve.
If you’re experiencing sciatica, we recommend moving as much as you can — take a walk around the neighborhood or go for a leisurely swim.
Strengthen your muscles
While this tip is hard to accomplish in the middle of a sciatica attack, we recommend that once you feel able, you incorporate core-strengthening exercises to prevent another one. By core muscles, we not only mean the muscles in your back but your abdominal muscles, as well. In supporting your spine from the front and back, you take the pressure off the discs in your spine.
If you’re overweight or obese, it’s important to try to reduce your weight. Carrying too much weight shifts your stomach forward while causing your spine to curve inward, putting too much stress on your back muscles.
These lifestyle modifications, combined with our treatments, can go a long way toward helping you both address your current sciatica and prevent the problem from developing again down the road. To learn more, contact one of our four locations in Metairie, LaPlace, Harvey, or New Orleans, Louisiana.