Sciatica is a symptom that can linger for a month or longer, especially if you’re engaging in behaviors that are aggravating the sciatic nerve when you might not realize it. Here at Easy Reach Chiropractic in Lake Worth and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Barbara Adonis, DC, and Heather Previll, PT, DPT, provide treatment for sciatica and helpful advice you should follow to find relief.
Here’s why the shooting pain or numbness of sciatica might be sticking around longer than you anticipated:
1. Too much rest
Resting in bed is one of the first logical steps in nursing an injury. However, if you have sciatica, hours of bed rest isn’t the solution. In fact, too much time sitting or laying down can aggravate the sciatic nerve even more and intensify the pain, burning, or numbness.
If you’re in a lot of pain and feel the need to rest your legs, you can do so in moderation. You should never stay in bed for longer than 48 hours at a time, and you can lower the pain enough to get yourself out of bed by taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. It also helps to stand up and take a break from sitting every 20 minutes or so.
2. Poor form at the gym
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the best shape of your life: Going to the gym might be making your sciatica worse if you have imperfect posture or if your weight-lifting techniques are improper.
To avoid worsening your sciatica symptoms, you should keep your posture in check both in and out of the gym. While working out, it’s important to warm up beforehand, limit any exercises that stretch your hamstrings, and go easy on the heavy lifting.
3. Smoking and tobacco use
You’ve probably heard about the negative effects of smoking from more than one medical provider before. At Easy Reach Chiropractic, our providers encourage you to stop smoking and using tobacco products or at least cut down on them if you have sciatica.
The nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products can damage spinal tissue and accelerate disc degeneration, which can lead to new or worsening symptoms of sciatica.
4. Opting for unsupportive footwear
Those heels might give you an extra inch of height and a confidence boost to boot, but they aren’t helping your sciatica. They throw off the balance of your stance and stretch the hamstring, which can ramp up sciatica symptoms since the sciatic nerve runs through the same area.
High heels and other shoes that lack support also put you at risk of trips and falls, which can further injure your spine and lead to sciatica. Our providers can help you explore the many benefits of supportive footwear and choose a pair of shoes that ease pressure on your lower back and hamstrings.
If you feel shooting pain or burning from your lower back and down the back of your left or right leg, sciatica may be to blame. Call Easy Reach Chiropractic for an appointment or schedule online to improve your sciatica today.