Many people often complain about their sciatic nerve pain, but have no idea where the sciatic nerve is actually located or what it actually does.
Simply stated, nerves help transmit signals to and from the brain and the rest of the body. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body which could explain why it is a pain-causing tissue. It runs from the lower spine down to the foot and is responsible for connecting the spine to the leg and foot muscles.
When people experience sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, they are experiencing any pain that runs along this large nerve in the body. Often, people describe the pain as a sharp, burning sensation, or numbness. “Sitting on pins and needles” is also a common symptom when dealing with sciatica.
Sciatic nerve pain is often caused by the pinching or compression of the base of the nerve in the low back or buttock. Activities that make you sit for long periods at a time can make the pain worse. Other causes like degenerative disc disease and lumbar spinal stenosis can influence the symptoms experienced with sciatica.
To help prevent or alleviate sciatic pain, here are 3 things you can do:
- Strengthening exercises: These exercises are used to target the abdominal or core muscles – a stronger core can help you to have a strong back. Crunches, wall-sits, planks, and a myriad of other exercises are all useful in strengthening the core.
- Stretching exercises: These stretches are used to help alleviate nerve pain by relaxing muscles that are tight and inflexible. The following video from SpineHealth.com has a is a great resource on how to do a proper hamstring stretch.
- Get up and move throughout the day: Set a timer on your phone for every 90 minutes. When the timer goes off, stand up, stretch, go for a quick walk, then resume working. This will help take pressure of the sciatic nerve and boost your energy.
Sciatica doesn’t have to rule your life. By making small lifestyle changes, you can do what you want pain-free. To get more tips on how to manage sciatica, give us a call or come in for an evaluation.