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Risk Factors for Sciatica—and How to Prevent It

Published on July 20th, 2020

You may already know someone dealing with sciatica, a condition which causes radiant pain to scorch downwards from your lower back. A bone spur of the spine, narrowing of the spine, or a herniated disk can cause sciatica—all conditions which may compress the sciatic nerve.

Compressing the sciatic nerve results in a variety of symptoms, including shooting, tingling, or aching pain through the buttocks and legs. In severe causes, sciatica can even cause weakness in the lower limbs and bowel or bladder changes.

Who is Most at Risk for Developing Sciatica?

  • Workers who engage in heavy lifting, back twisting, and/or long periods of driving.
  • Diabetics, due to an overall increased risk of nerve damage.
  • Elderly people, due to age-related changes in the spine.
  • Those who spend a prolonged amount of time sitting.
  • Obese individuals, due to increased spinal stress.

What Can I Do to Prevent Sciatica?

 

  • Get regular exercise. Building up a strong core and lower back muscles can help take some of the pressure off your back and maintain proper posture and alignment. A physical therapist can help suggest useful exercises for this purpose.
  • Be aware of your seated posture. There’s a right way and wrong way to sit! Keep your knees and hips level, and consider placing a rolled towel behind your back to maintain the natural curve of your spine. A proper seat with adequate lower back support, armrests, and a swiveling base can also help.
  • Practice positive body mechanics. If your job or leisure activity requires long periods of standing, try to rest one foot from time to time. Be careful to lift heavy objects with your lower limbs and not your back; if the object is too heavy for you to lift safely, tag in a friend to help avoid injury.

 

Massage Therapy in the Loop

For many patients, massage therapy is a key part of their sciatica-response plan. Deep tissue massages are a popular method for dealing with lower back pain. If you’re looking for professional massage therapy in the Loop, contact us today!


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