5 Ways to Manage Sciatica and Reduce the Pain
Did you know that around 40% of people deal with sciatica?
Back pain is one of the most common and chronic issues that plague people as they age. Sciatica relates to the pain along the sciatic nerve, which starts in your lower back and goes down through your hips into each leg. It can be extremely debilitating and challenging to deal with the pain, especially when attacks last months, but there are some solutions.
In this post, we’re going to tell you 5 ways to manage sciatica and reduce the overall pain you’re experiencing. Learning how to cope is important, but taking preventative measures will help you to avoid the worst of it.
1. Exercise More
Amid a sciatica attack, the last thing you’ll want to think about is exercising more, but it is key to preventing and relieving the effects of back pain. Anything that strengthens the areas affected by your sciatica will help, but here are some specific exercises you can do:
- Any aerobic exercises, like running, cycling, swimming, or even walking.
- Isometric exercises – planks, pushups, wall sits, leg extensions.
- Any flexibility training – yoga, tai chi, and pilates.
2. Physical Therapy
Stretching can help to loosen the tight muscles, but you might want to consider consulting a physical therapist first. They’ll be able to tell you which stresses will alleviate your pain and more importantly, tell you how to do them properly so that you don’t aggravate anything.
3. Practicing Good Posture
People tend not to think much about their posture until it becomes a problem, at which time it becomes a pain to try and fix. But when you’re constantly putting your back in compromised positions, it’s worth trying to change.
Pay attention to how your body is positioned when sitting or standing. Pull your shoulders back and down and take frequent breaks when you’re working on a computer. Sitting for long periods of time puts pressure on the disks and ligaments in your back.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Diet
You can reduce inflammation in your back by eating the right things. Your diet should contain lots of fruit and vegetables, fiber, and whole grains. Ginger, turmeric, and green tea also contain anti-inflammatory properties. You want to build up the magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium in your body.
The foods you should really be avoiding are sugars, refined carbs, and trans fats. Smoking can actually work against the naturally occurring anti-inflammatory properties in your body.
5. Body and Mind
Of course, the pain of sciatica isn’t just in your head, but you can train your mind to help reduce your perception of the pain. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and CBT can help you to relax your muscles and control your mind’s reaction to pain.
You Can Manage Your Sciatica
It’s always possible to manage sciatica, especially if you enact the tips we’ve mentioned here. However, when the pain is too much to bear, it’s hard to get the motivation to exercise, meditate, or eat healthy. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is see a spine specialist.
All Spine Care is your spine surgery specialist. Spine surgery isn’t necessarily invasive and Dr. Andrew Moulton is a top Tampa Bay spine doctor, so visit us today to learn more about what we can do to help alleviate your sciatica pain.