You’ve probably had lower back pain at one time or another, but have you had pain or numbness that travels from your lower back down the back of your leg? This common ailment is called sciatica. If you’ve ever suffered from it, you know how painful it is to do simple tasks like bending over to tie your shoes. You may not realize there are things you can do to lessen the pain, speed up recovery, or even prevent sciatica from occurring in the first place.
At Accelerated Medical in Elko, NV, our team of chiropractic experts takes a holistic and sustainable approach to musculoskeletal problems, especially those in your lower back like sciatica. Our team is dedicated to helping you live without pain so you can get out there and enjoy life. In that vein, here are three factors that put you at higher risk for developing sciatica.
1. Degenerative disc disease
Degenerative disc disease occurs when a disc in your back bulges or ruptures. If it pushes on the sciatic nerve, you’ll end up with pain, tingling, or numbness from your lower back down the back of your leg. To avoid this, you’d do well to ensure the support system surrounding your damaged discs is pulling its weight, quite literally. By embarking on a strength and flexibility program that shores up the supporting tissues, including your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, you can take the pressure off your discs.
2. Lifestyle factors
Being overweight or obese
Carrying around extra weight isn’t good for your back or your overall health. Your spine is your foundational support, and it bears a reasonably hefty burden under normal circumstances. However, if you’re carrying extra weight, you’re adding to this already large workload, which can lead to sciatica. Lose weight to lessen the impact on your spine and joints.
We encourage you to wear a support brace for your lower back to prevent injury and lower your chances of developing sciatica. You’ve probably heard “lift with your knees” time and again, and this is excellent advice for avoiding sciatica. If you have unhealthy discs, all it takes is one lift with your low back to trigger a chain of events that will lay you flat with back pain.
Sitting too long
Many Americans spend most of their working day sitting down. When this is combined with a long commute, it’s a recipe for disaster. Humans aren’t made to sit for hours on end each day. We’re made to move. Prolonged sitting compresses your back, which can cause disc problems that irritate your sciatic nerve. If you’re a desk jockey, do yourself a favor by getting up at least once an hour to stretch and move around. And when you’re at your desk, resist slouching by keeping your back straight and your shoulders back.
3. Age-related changes
As we get older, we may experience arthritis, back soreness, tightness, or other spine conditions like bone spurs or herniated discs that can cause sciatica. While we can’t do anything about getting older, we can do our best to stay active and flexible. By keeping our spines healthy, we can lower our chances of getting sciatica.
Don’t get sidelined by sciatica. To get on the road to recovery, contact our Elko, Nevada, office, or request an appointment online today.