Everyday Habits That Could Be Contributing to Your Sciatica Pain

Everyday Habits That Could Be Contributing to Your Sciatica Pain

You might not think much about your sciatic nerve 一 a long nerve that runs from your lower back through your buttocks and down each leg 一 until it hurts. Sciatica refers to pain and inflammation in this nerve. It can cause pain, tingling, and numbness anywhere along the nerve, and unfortunately, up to 40% of people deal with this condition at some point in their lives. Spine conditions, such as herniated discs, can contribute to sciatica, but so can everyday habits. 

Here at Wynn Over Pain, Brenton Wynn, MD, double board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, offers sciatica treatment in Chula Vista and National City, California. In addition to medication, physical therapy, epidural spinal cord injections, and spinal cord stimulation, Dr. Wynn wants to shed light on the habits that contribute to sciatica pain so you can find relief from sciatica. 

1. Keeping your wallet in your pocket

It seems nearly impossible to find someone who doesn’t carry an item 一 a cell phone or a wallet 一 in their back pocket. Unfortunately, carrying items in your pockets can be a sneaky source of sciatica pain. While carrying the item in your pocket is convenient, problems arise when you sit with the lump (phone or wallet) still stashed in your pocket. Your phone or wallet digs into your piriformis muscle. Your piriformis muscle runs through your buttocks, and when it becomes inflamed or irritated, it can irritate your sciatic nerve, which runs under this muscle.

The solution: Refrain from sitting down with large items in your back pocket.

2. Sitting at a desk all day

Sitting for extended periods of time each day can exacerbate symptoms of sciatica. Regular exercise and physical activity can help reduce symptoms of sciatica and keep your muscles more flexible. 

Here are a few ways to squeeze more physical activity into your day:

Not sure which exercises are safe for you and your back? Before embarking on a new exercise regime, talk to Dr. Wynn about your concerns, especially if you have back pain.

3. Slinging a heavy purse over one shoulder

Carrying a purse or messenger-style backpack over one shoulder might sound like a source of neck pain, but the reality is that this can also contribute to sciatica pain. Carrying excess weight on one side of your back puts undue stress on your muscles, which can cause inflammation and irritation on your sciatic nerve.

The solution: Consider carrying a purse or backpack that spreads the weight evenly across both of your shoulders. 

4. Wearing high heels regularly 

High heels might be the finishing touch to your outfit, but unfortunately, they can cause foot issues, such as blisters, bunions, and corns. They can also make your sciatica pain worse. High heels disrupt the natural curvature of your spine because they force you to shift your body weight forward. This disruption forces your hips forward and puts too much stress on your lower back, which can exacerbate your sciatica symptoms.

The solution: Swap your high heels for a pair with a more reasonable heel. If you wear high heels occasionally, be sure to alternate with lower heels to give your feet (and your back!) a much-needed break.

5. Wearing tight pants

Believe it or not, researchers have something to say about skinny jeans: Too-tight pants can contribute to sciatica pain. Wearing skinny jeans (or any type of clothing that is tight) can further irritate your sciatic nerve. 

The solution: Opt for clothing that isn’t so tight. Choose pants, skirts, or jeans that are a bit looser to avoid further irritating your sciatic nerve.

Finding the cause of your sciatica

These everyday habits aren’t the only sources of nerve pain. Obesity and spine conditions such as herniated discs and bone spurs can also affect your spine and your sciatic nerve. The first step in overcoming sciatica pain is to determine the source of your pain, and that includes your lifestyle habits as well as any underlying spine conditions. In addition to helping you make lifestyle changes, Dr. Wynn can further assist you in finding relief with medication, physical therapy, and innovative treatments, including epidural steroid injections.

Say goodbye to sciatica pain. Contact one of our offices today and find out which sciatica treatment is right for you. You can also book an appointment online.

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