Your sciatic nerves are the longest in your body. They run from the base of your spine, down the back of your legs from your buttocks to your legs. When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, it creates a condition called sciatica. Many people with sciatica come to us with pain management concerns.
Sciatica tends to be a chronic condition, especially if you repeatedly do things to aggravate this nerve. You can unintentionally make the condition worse by doing certain activities. Our providers at LA Pain Doctor, with six locations across Louisiana, explain more about ways you might be making your sciatica worse.
Wearing the wrong shoes
Wearing the wrong type of shoes can definitely make your sciatica worse. Two of the worst kinds of footwear for sciatica are high heels and shoes with no cushion (including flip flops.) Instead, wear shoes that provide support for your feet.
High heels, in particular, are a significant trigger for sciatica because they force your pelvis into an unnatural position. If you wear high heels and have sciatica, you may find that simply switching to a different type of footwear may relieve much of your pain.
Putting your wallet in your back pocket
Many people put their wallets in their back pockets. Sitting on your wallet can irritate your sciatic nerve, particularly if your wallet is overstuffed with credit cards. Similarly, having your cell phone in your back pocket can have the same effect. Try moving your wallet and cell phone to one of your front pockets instead.
Manage your stress
If you’re under a lot of stress, you’ll experience a lot of seemingly unrelated pain. Stress can affect your sleep, increase your back pain, and also aggravate your sciatica. There does seem to be a correlation between having a hard-driving “Type A” personality and experiencing sciatic nerve pain.
Struggling with weight
You probably already know that weight affects your health in a lot of ways. Experiencing weight struggles increases your risk for sciatica as well.
Sitting too much
A sedentary lifestyle is linked to sciatica. Sedentary lifestyles aren’t uncommon — sitting at a desk while at work then resting at home after a long day. Most of us have to make an intentional effort to get enough exercise.
But it’s important to make that effort, even if it doesn’t seem like you have time. Try building exercise into your day a few minutes at a time. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Park a little further from the entrance when you go to the store.
Vary your types of exercise
While it’s always a good idea to do some exercise, doing the same things over and over may increase your risk of sciatica. Walking is more likely to cause first-time sciatica symptoms, while jogging or running is more likely to cause continued sciatic nerve problems. In short, mix in a variety of exercise routines.
If you have sciatic nerve irritation, you already know that it’s painful. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your likelihood of experiencing this condition. If you need additional help with your sciatica, contact our office or request an appointment online.