A study published in the National Library of Medicine noted that nearly 30% of sciatica patients experience pain that lingers for more than a year. A year!
When suffering from chronic sciatica it is important to understand the factors that are responsible for worsening your sciatica pain and aggravating your symptoms, that way you can change your behavior and/or seek additional help
While stretching and exercising to stay active is always good for your overall health and to maintain flexibility, some exercise may contribute to your worsening sciatica.
Exercise that requires simultaneous lifting of both legs may be good for strengthening your core muscles and the back but can aggravate your sciatica. In this scenario, overstretching can strain your muscles exacerbating your sciatica.
Improper lifting, bending or twisting can aggravate your sciatic nerves and surrounding muscles. It can also put you at risk of developing a herniated disc, and can lead to worsening of your sciatica.
High-impact exercises like running can irritate the sciatica nerve and worsen your sciatica. Running involves pelvic motion and the high impact of this repeated motion increases the chances of developing muscle spasms or irritating the sciatic nerve worsening your sciatica symptoms.
Long Periods of Inactivity
If your occupation requires you to sit for long hours, and if you do not move or stretch during that time, you risk immobilizing your spine. Prolonged sitting also puts pressure on your lower back and your sciatic nerves, increasing your sciatica pain.
Sleeping on a mattress that is either too soft or too hard can aggravate your pinched or inflamed sciatica nerve by increasing the pressure on your lower back.
If you have sciatica, wearing high heels increases the pressure on the front of your foot and pushes your hips forward. High heels also change your body weight distribution. When you walk or stand on high heels for a prolonged period, your hamstrings are stressed and stretched. The sciatic nerve located near the hamstring also bears this constant stretch and pressure aggravating your sciatica symptoms and worsening the pain.
Being overweight, especially around the hips and lower back leads to increased pressure and stress on the pelvic muscles and lower back. The stress on the lower back and the pelvic region often irritates and compresses the sciatic nerve causing worsening sciatica pain. Obesity also increases the chances of developing a herniated or slipped disc which may further contribute to the worsening of your sciatica.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Natural wear and tear of the spinal discs can occur due to aging causing degenerative disc disease. Progressive deterioration of the spinal discs over time can worsen your sciatica due to increased compression of the sciatic nerve. Degenerative disc disease also puts you at high risk of developing herniated disc which may further worsen your sciatica.
Cauda Equina Syndrome
If your sciatica worsens rapidly or you lose control of your bowel or bladder, you may be suffering from “cauda equina syndrome” requiring immediate emergency medical attention.
Managing Your Sciatica
Your chiropractor can show you the correct way to exercise and stretch which strengthens your muscle and increases your range of motion without aggravating your sciatica.
Needing to know about your options to help you with your Sciatica pain? Reach out to our office today to book your appointment so we can help in your return to great back health.