Sciatic Pain; Treatment & Management
In the past, most hardworking people might be found working in factories, farms, or building the many sky scrapers found in our large cities. Now, general hardworking professionals most likely can be found sitting behind a desk for long periods of the day. It is not because we are lazy, rather the nature of the jobs are different than they were 100 years ago. Before, hardworking people may come home complaining of lower back pain, because they were bending over all day. Today we complain of back problems because we are sitting too much. This just goes to show how active our backs are in our day to day activities. In this article I will analyze how and why most of us have lower back pain and what we can do to prevent it.
Most of us experience lower back pain as a sharp pinching pain or a dull ache and it can be serious if not treated correctly. According to a study by the NIH, 4 out of 5 people will experience lower back pain eventually. First, lets get to know lower back pain so you understand how you can prevent it. Lower back pain is defined as pain in the vertebrae between the L1-L5 vertebrae. This is the part of your spine where it curves inward at the base. The most common reason your lower back may hurt is due to your posture while sitting. When you slouch when you sit or sit hunched over it can put strain on the discs between your vertebrae. These discs are small sacs that prevent the discs from rubbing together. Lower back pain can be from your bad sitting posture, but it also could be a pre-existing medical condition. Lets now examine the different types of back pain and the best way to relive them.
Not all back pain is the same and due to the same issue.
When you have a herniated disc, your lower back is where you would experience the pain first. A herniated disc is caused when the pressure in your back causes one of the discs to pop out of its original place. When the disc is out of place, pressure is put on the spinal cord and nerves in the area, causing pain and in some occurrence’s numbness. Herniated discs usually happen to the elderly as a natural part of the aging process, but herniated discs can also happen from bad posture or lifting something the wrong way.
A strained muscle in your back is commonly known as a lumbar strain and occurs when someone tears the muscle in their back by overstretching or twisting too much. Many people feel the pressure in their lower back increasing when they sit for long periods of time. They will then proceed to twist and stretch, usually in the incorrect manner, and then complain of lower back pain afterwards. They may blame the pain from sitting to much and that could be why, but they also could have strained their lumbar muscles from the twisting and stretching that followed. Most people recover from a lumbar strain within a month, but the problem could persist when coupled with bad posture.
The sciatica or sciatic nerve refers to the nerve that runs from the base of your spine all the way to the back of your legs. It could be caused by many medical conditions such as a bone spurt on tour spine. The pain could range from a dull ache to what feels like a knife being stuck in your back. Usually with a sciatic nerve injury you will only feel pain on one side, but with prolonged bad sitting posture you could make the pain a lot worse.
You may have lower back pain because of your bad posture or because you tweaked it lifting something. The fact is, most people will have discomfort in the lower back because they are a under conditioned; out of shape. Your core muscles are in your back, abdomen, hips, and buttocks. If these muscles are weak, then they might not support your back correctly and cause pain and discomfort.
Best Sitting Positions for Lower Back Pain
Your teachers and parents likely told you to sit up straight when you were a child and for good reason. Sitting in one position for long periods of time puts unwanted stain on certain points of your back. When you are sitting at work or at home, imagine a pole that runs in a straight line from the ceiling to the floor. This pole goes through your head, along your back, and into the floor. You should position your body along this pole so your back stays straight and doesn’t hunch forward or to one side.
Exercises & Stretches for Lower Back
If you are having lower back pain from bad posture and stretches are not relieving the pain you can try:
- Change your posture– Try a standing desk or maybe even a back support in your chair to help your posture change.
- Apply Ice– By applying ice to the injured area you lessen the swelling, which may relieve a lot of the pressure around the injury in your back. Make sure to only ice 15-20 min as icing longer is bad for your skin.
- Heating Pad– After you apply the ice for 15-20min, let your skin return to room temp, then apply the heat pad for 15-20min. This returns the blood to the injured area and repairs the injured area after the ice has reduced the swelling.
- Medication– Some doctors may prescribe you a muscle relaxant if the tightening and pain in your back is severe. Check with your doctor before you start taking any medication.
- Try Yoga– Yoga implements many of the stretches and exercises that are great for loosening and strengthening your lower back.
If you have tried every remedy in the book and pain still persists you need to see your doctor. Your doctor may decide to prescribe you medication or refer you to a physical therapist for a more in-depth evaluation. You need to see a doctor if:
- Pain is intolerable
- Tingling or numbness in the back of the legs
- Have a fever
- Feel unusually weak
- Lose control of your bladder or bowls
- Uncharacteristically losing weight
Lower back pain is a problem 4 out of 5 people will have through in their lifetime. The causes of your lower back pain may be different from the next person but treating and managing your back pain can be achieved through constant maintenance.
If you are having trouble obtaining the right mentality to make a change, you may want to consider working with a personal trainer!
Come in to Iron Orr Fitness Center today to receive a FREE Complimentary Consultation. We will give you a medical grade body composition test, a 20min workout/evaluation with one of our certified personal trainers and develop a plan to help you reach your fitness goals.
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