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How to Prevent Sciatica

By Sara Butler

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body and when something is going wrong with it, you will definitely know. This nerve runs from your back, through your pelvis, across your buttocks, and then down both legs all the way to your toes. If it’s irritated or compressed, then you may experience numbness if your feet, toes, or lower leg and/or pain. Coughing, sneezing, and sitting for long stretches of time can make it even worse. Here’s what you need to know about how to battle sciatica and avoid it!

The Proper Technique

Just as your chiropractor has techniques for treating sciatica, there are also techniques for things you should be doing to prevent sciatica when you’re at home or work. Remember that regular exercise and stretching will also help, along with sitting and lifting properly.

How to Sit

If you spend a lot of your day sitting and your sciatic nerve is starting to protest, then you must remember to sit the right way. You should:

  • Sit with your shoulders back - Your spine should be straight and your butt should touch the back of the chair.
  • Use lumbar support – There are three curves in your back, support them with the chair back. Use a rolled up towel or pillow at your lower back to help maintain all three curves.
  • Distribute weight evenly – Your body weight should be even over your hips, not leaning to one side.
  • Bend the knees – The knees should be at a right angle and slightly higher than your hips, with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Move around – Every 30 minutes or so, you should get up and stretch a bit.
  • Adjust the chair height – Your elbows should rest comfortably on your desk or chair, enabling you to keep your shoulders relaxed. If not, adjust your chair height.

When Lifting

When you lift something, you need to follow these rules to keep your sciatic nerve happy:

  • Know your limits – If something is too heavy, and then get help.
  • Get a firm footing – When you lift something, make sure your feet are on an even surface.
  • Stay straight – Your back must be kept straight as you bend to pick something up at the waist, never bend forward.
  • Stay close – Keep close to the object you’re picking up and keep your feet flat. Use the power of your legs and hips to lift, not the back.
  • Don’t twist – Pivot when carrying something, never twist your waist.

If you ever notice you have problems with your sciatic nerve, make sure to bring it to the attention of your chiropractor. They can help you understand what you can do outside of their office to help reduce your discomfort and stay healthy!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spring, Tex. 

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