If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica, you probably have difficulty sitting in a chair without pain. This is a typical problem that most people with the condition deal with. We have some helpful tips that can be used to learn how to sit comfortably with sciatica. We share information about techniques that can reduce your pain and increase your enjoyment of life.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is pain that usually affects only one side of the body. It is a pain that radiates throughout the path along the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts at the lower back and it branches out through your buttocks, your hips, and down the legs. It can be caused by a condition known as spinal stenosis, a bone spur on your backbone, a herniated disk, or a condition that is called piriformis syndrome.
It happens when a part of the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, leading to inflammation, pain, and sometimes numbness. It usually affects only one leg. The level of pain from sciatica can be mild, moderate, or severe. It is most often resolved without the need for surgery, however, extreme cases may call for surgical intervention.
The pain usually radiates down one leg and it can even shoot into the foot and toes. It may be continual and generally feels as though it is radiating downwards. You may also experience numbness or weakness in the leg, foot, or the toes. You may have a sharp pain that makes walking or standing difficult along with a tingling or burning sensation in the leg.
What is Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is a medical condition that can cause the same symptoms as sciatica. The piriformis muscle is located deep within the buttocks. It rests behind the gluteus maximus. This muscle becomes irritated and spasms, causing pain in the buttock, and when it’s severe, it can also affect the sciatic nerve, causing the symptoms of sciatica.
How to Sit Comfortably with Sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical condition that is best treated by managing your body positions instead of only relieving the pain. Relieving the pressure and irritation of the sciatic nerve is recommended for symptom relief. A physical therapist can help you to learn practical exercises and ways to position your body to bring relief from sciatica. Here are tips for helping sciatica and sitting comfortably.
-Change your body position
Sitting in the same position for extended periods can make the symptoms of sciatica worse. It’s recommended that you frequently change your position when sitting. It’s important to limit the amount of time that you sit, and move to a standing position or lying down. This can help to relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve and make it possible to return to a sitting position with less discomfort.
– Increase spine flexibility
Strengthening the muscles around the spine and stretching the ligaments and muscles to make them more limber is recommended. This should be done with exercises recommended by your health care provider or a licensed physical therapist to avoid injury. The more mobility you have, the less street that is placed on your sciatic nerve.
-Work on hip flexibility
Hip flexibility can make it possible for you to sit more comfortably for longer periods. This can be accomplished through specific exercises that are intended to extend the ligaments and muscles. Check with your doctor or a physical therapist about the best exercises to increase your hip flexibility safely.
-Use a chair that is adjustable and ergonomic with lumbar support
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-Sit down and rise without moving your spine
When you’re sitting in a chair, especially one that pivots, avoid twisting your spine when you turn in the chair, rise out of it, or sit back down. Twisting your back can increase sciatic pain.
-Keep your knees and hips at the same level
When possible, sit in a manner that keeps your knees at the same height as your hips. This reduces the pressure that is placed on your sciatic nerve. When your knees are lower than your hips, it creates pressure.
-Take periodic breaks
It is recommended that you get up and move around frequently. If possible, walk around every 30 minutes before you return to a sitting position.
-Sit up straight
When sitting in a chair, sit with your back firmly placed in the chair so your buttocks and spine are firmly supported. Slumping forward in your chair can make sciatica pain worse.
-Sit with your feet flat
You should also sit with your feet flat on the floor. Sitting with your toes on the floor can create pressure on the sciatic nerve. Also, avoid crossing your legs because this can worsen sciatica as well.
Does Sitting Make Sciatica Worse?
Sitting often makes sciatica worse. Sitting for extended periods places a great deal of pressure on the sciatic nerve. If you have an injury or medical condition such as bone spurs, herniated disk, or other conditions, sitting can be one of the worst positions for triggering sciatic pain. Any activity that causes pressure or irritation of the sciatic nerve can cause pain and worsen the condition.
What Chair is Best for Sciatica?
Sitting for extended periods is not recommended when you have sciatica, but there are times when it cannot be avoided. The type of chair that you use can make a big difference in how comfortable or uncomfortable you are. The type of chair that is best for sciatica is an ergonomic chair.
What is an Ergonomic Chair?
This is a chair that is made to fit the contours of your body. It is adjustable so you can customize the height and the positioning. The best include adjustable lumbar support. You can also use an ergonomic seat cushion to improve the fit.
Best Ergonomic Office Chair to Relieve Sciatica Pain
Why Does Sitting Make My Sciatica Worse?
Sitting causes an increase in pressure on the sciatic nerve. When a part of the nerve becomes compressed or even irritated, it causes sciatic pain. This is why it is important to avoid any positions that can use this kind of pressure. When you sit in a chair, consider where your sciatic nerve is located, and how different parts of the body can be positioned to relieve this pressure.
How Do You Sit in an Office Chair with Sciatica?
If you work in an office then there is no question that you will need to sit for several hours in an office chair. Here are some tips to help you sit properly with sciatica to lessen the amount of discomfort that you feel.
-Assume a flexed position
There are few instances where slouching in a chair can bring you relief, but when you’re at the office for hours, it may help. Allow yourself to slouch in your office chair but only for a few minutes at a time. Press your spine into the back of the chair for a few moments.
-Sit in a neutral position
Shift to an upright neutral position that requires you to keep your backbone completely straight. This can give you a little extra spinal support and take the pressure off of your sciatic nerve.
-Sit in an extended position
Tip your hips forward and press your butt into the back support of the chair. Create a space between ou and the lower part of the chair. It can bring temporary relief.
Try the three positions listed above to bring about relief from sciatic pain. If you’re hurting, it can be helpful to briefly change to these positions throughout the day.
-Create extra lumbar support
If your office chair is not giving you the support that you need, you can make a few simple changes. One trick is to roll up a pillow or towel and place it in the lumbar area to give you additional support. It can relieve pain.
Is It Painful to Sit with Sciatica?
Sitting with sciatica is only painful when the sciatic nerve is compressed or if it is irritated. This is why the position that you sit in along with the type of chair that you sit in is so important. When you sit in the same position that causes other parts of your body to press on the sciatic nerve, that is when the pain begins. Some people with sciatica have found different ways of sitting that are more comfortable because they keep the pressure off of key points in the spine.
What Should You Not Do with Sciatica?
When you have sciatica, you must be careful about the way that you sit, stand, move, and turn. Here are the things that you should not do to avoid triggering a painful episode.
-Do not twist your neck or back. This can cause internal movements that press on the sciatic nerve.
-Do not sit in the same position for long periods. Get up and move around every half hour or so.
-Do not jog when you have sciatica.
-Watch your diet
-Avoid foods that contain saturated fats. These are known to increase inflammation. Foods to pass on include high-fat dairy products, fatty meats, processed foods, and fried foods. Your diet can affect sciatica.
Other Ways to Alleviate Sciatica Pain
There are a lot of different things that you can do to manage your sciatica and relieve the pain. Self-care is one of the most important parts of relieving discomfort.
Keep moving to keep your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments limber. If you sit or lie down most of the time, the soft tissues in your body will become weaker and this can cause sciatica pain to worsen. Cutting light exercise out of your life will lessen your enjoyment out of life and it will make sciatica pain worse.
-Cope with your feelings
There are a lot of emotions that go with sciatic pain. It’s miserable and it can lead to depression and frustrations. The systems of the body react to physical pain and the emotional distress that goes along with it. this can cause the nervous system to restrict the amount of blood and oxygen that is transported to different parts of your body. Find ways to de-stress because it can help your body to more successfully function. When you’re less stressed your body will heal more quickly and you’ll enjoy life more.
-See a professional
A professional health care provider who is certified to deal with sciatic issues can be an excellent resource. He or she can recommend non-addictive treatments for taking the edge off the pain. A massage therapist can help to deliver relief by manipulating the soft tissues around the sciatic nerve and relieve the tension that has built up in this area. A physical therapist can give you a list of useful and helpful exercises to improve your condition and relieve the pain.
Simple Tips to Prevent Sciatica
It’s better to prevent sciatic pain than to find ways to relieve it. Even if you’re currently in pain, there are ways that you can prevent the pain from getting worse. Here are some proven ways to prevent sciatica and to relieve its pain
-Increase the amount of exercise
A key to preventing sciatica is to get plenty of healthy exercises. As discussed earlier, this helps to loosen and limber the tissues to reduce the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve. It is also a good practice for relieving pain.
-Strengthen your core
Check with your health care provider to get a list of the best exercises for strengthening your core. When your muscles are stronger, they provide better support for the spine. This can prevent and relieve sciatic pain in many cases.
-Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity or being overweight increases the amount of pressure on your spine. It can cause sciatica and make the pain much worse. Keeping a healthy body weight can lessen the chances of developing sciatica.
-Maintain good posture
Whether you’re sitting or standing, maintain good posture. Keep your shoulders squared and avoid slumping. This can also prevent sciatica or relieve sciatic pain.
It’s not impossible to sit comfortably with sciatica, but it does take an effort. There are things that you can do to make sitting in a chair more comfortable. Follow the tips that we’ve provided for self-care, try to sit in an ergonomic chair, or use lumbar support, and you’ll feel relief from the discomfort of sciatica.
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