Sciatica is one of the most uncomfortable and stubborn types of back pain. In fact, this types of pain rarely stays in the back. Instead, the sharp pain can be radiate along the sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower spine and follows down through the buttocks and back of the leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, so it makes sense why the irritation of this nerve is so disruptive to those suffer.
Sciatic pain is typically caused by the pinching of the nerve, which can be from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or other type of injury. Unfortunately, many patients have a chronic battle with sciatica that includes periods of the nerve calming down as well as episodes of more intense discomfort or flare-ups.
While there are many non-surgical remedies to alleviate sciatic nerve pain, such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants or physical therapy exercises, there are also some everyday habits that you should stay away from. The following are known for their ability to trigger sciatic pain or cause irritation in the nerve. If you suffer from sciatica, stop these habits now:
#1 Wearing High Heels. A shoe that pitches your body weight forward will force the hips and pelvis to maintain a position that can stretch the sciatic nerve along the back of your leg. When an irritated or pinched nerve is stretched, it often produces pain. You’ll be triggering your sciatic even more If your high heels are not cushioned properly, as the impact of your steps will be absorbed by more of your back and hips compared to your soles.
#2 Sitting on Your Wallet. This is referred to as “back pocket” sciatica. When men or women sit on their wallet, keys or cell phone in their back pocket for extended periods of time, it can aggravate the muscle (piriformis) that lies on top of the sciatic nerve. In turn, the nerve is under more pressure and will respond with painful symptoms.
#3 Stressing Out. It can be difficult to avoid stress and anxiety this year. However, research shows that emotional anxiety can trigger back pain due to the deprivation of oxygen to the nerves. If your sciatica is acting up, don’t dismiss the connection between your physical pain and your mental/emotional well-being.
#4 Wearing Tight Clothes. When trying to let your sciatic nerve calm down, try to avoid tight-fitting clothing on your lower half. Many patients find that tight blue jeans, spandex and underwear can make their sciatic pain worse.
#5 Not Controlling Your Weight. Obesity is also closely linked to sciatica. The more you weigh, the more likely the sciatic nerve will be under pressure or compressed.
While it may seem like your sciatic pain is a lifelong battle, there are effective treatments available. Contact Dr. Brent Michael for more information about sciatica treatment options at our Santa Monica office.