Sciatica is one of the conditions that our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey treats most frequently. Characterized by pain that can strike anywhere from the lower back down through the hips, buttons and all the way down either leg, sciatica is most frequently the result of one of three problems: a herniated disk, a narrowing of the spine, or a bone spur. In all three cases, the problem leads to the sciatic nerve being compressed, and this leads to pain, inflammation, and in some cases of numbness.
Many times people who are suffering through sciatica are hesitant about coming in to see us because they are afraid that the only solution available to them is surgery, but in many cases, simple lifestyle changes and non-invasive treatments can solve the problem in a relatively short period of time. In some cases, this will involve an injection with a strong anti-inflammatory steroid that will ease the swelling that causes the pain. In other cases, it may be a combination of pain medication and exercise. One way or another, with proper attention sciatica, can generally be resolved.
The other way that our lumbar spine specialty practice can help your sciatica is to provide you with information that will prevent it from returning. Unless sciatica is caused by degenerative disc disease or pregnancy, its pain can usually be addressed with lifestyle changes. Here are some to the best ways to help prevent sciatica:
• Pay attention to your posture – In many instances, poor posture and body mechanics are where sciatica pain starts. This does not generally come from out of the blue: instead you will feel stiffness or soreness in your shoulders, neck or back. When you start to feel discomfort, take the time to look at how you’re holding your body. Is your spine straight and head held upright, or are you slouching and hunched over. Adjusting your body position when you’re standing and sitting can go a long way towards keeping your back healthy.
• Lift with your legs – You’ve probably heard that many times, but it is essential advice to prevent back injuries. When lifting something heavy, bend your knees, and don’t twist.
• Stop smoking – Though it may sound strange, what you put in your lungs has an impact on your spine. Tobacco impacts the amount of blood flow in your body, and this can lead to disc degeneration.
• Make sure you’re eating healthy and are maintaining a healthy weight – The more excess weight you are carrying, the more stress you put on your spine and the muscles that support it.
• Get some exercise to strengthen your core – The stronger the abdominal and back muscles are, the lower your risk of spine injury. Avoid activities that will put your back at risk. Low impact exercise is your best option and will go a long way towards keeping you healthy.
If you are suffering from sciatica pain, a call to our lumbar spine specialist will put you back on the road to health.