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Habits and Conditions That Could Be Contributing to Sciatica

Habits and Conditions That Could Be Contributing to Sciatica

Pain, numbness, and tingling — these are the hallmarks of sciatica and side effects you’d rather not experience. If you want to reduce your risks for sciatica, you’d do well to start with some bad habits and conditions that may be increasing your chances for developing this painful condition.

At Peak Spine & Sports Medicine, Drs. Milind Patel and Jill Kalariya believe that any step that you take to prevent a painful condition like sciatica is a step well worth taking.

To that end, we outline a few everyday habits and ongoing conditions that you can change to avoid back pain.

Sitting is the new smoking

There’s an expression in medical circles about sitting becoming the new smoking. What we mean is that excessive and prolonged sitting can negatively impact your health in myriad ways — from your spinal health to your cardiovascular health.

When it comes to sciatica, bear in mind that the condition is typically caused by a herniated disc in your spine that compresses your sciatic nerve. One of the reasons why your discs might herniate or bulge in the first place is because you sit too much, which places 90% more pressure on your spine than when you stand.

Though you may not be able to avoid sitting, we recommend that you get up and move around, at least once every hour, to give the discs in your spine a much-needed break from the added pressure of sitting.

Posture matters

Although sitting is a contributing factor for sciatica, how you sit matters, too. If you have poor posture when you’re seated, you create pressure points in your spine that can lead to a herniated disc and sciatica.

When you’re seated, it’s important that you place both feet on the floor, sit with your bottom pressed up against the back of the chair, and keep your back straight and your shoulders back. You should also raise your screens to eye level, which will help keep your spine straight.

Carrying excess weight

If you’re carrying extra pounds, this condition can place more stress on the intervertebral discs in your spine. Losing weight is a great step toward improving your overall health and can go a long way toward avoiding conditions like sciatica.

A weak core

Another issue that can lead to sciatica is having weak core muscles, which are the muscles in your abdomen and back that support your spine.

If you spend a few minutes each day strengthening these muscles, your back will benefit from better support, and you should experience far less back pain. To get started, follow this link for some great core-strengthening exercises. 

Heavy lifting

If you workout with weights or you have a job that involves heavy lifting, these activities can place a great deal of stress on the structures in your lower back. When you’re engaged in any heavy lifting, you may want to wear a back brace and remember to get your legs in on the action by following the old adage, “Lift with your legs, not with your back.”

By following some of these lifestyle tweaks, there’s a good chance that you can greatly decrease your risks for low back problems like sciatica.

If you have more questions about sciatica prevention or your treatment options for the condition, please contact our office in Marlton, New Jersey, to set up an appointment.

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