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Don’t Make These Mistakes If You Have Sciatica

May 18, 2018


Mark Shelley

If you suffer from lower back pain that often radiates down into one of your legs, you should consider seeing your Edmonds WA chiropractor for sciatica treatment. Sciatica pain is not something that normally just goes away on its own.

While a lot of patients adopt some type of self-care method at home to help their pain, sometimes you can end up doing more harm than good. You don’t want to make these mistakes if you have sciatica because it may worsen the symptoms, so it’s important to know what they are.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at some mistakes patients with sciatica commonly make.

What is Sciatica Pain?

The sciatic nerve runs through your lower back and down through the hip joints and legs. Sciatica is a condition that describes pain stemming from this nerve, which typically occurs either on the left or right side.

Sciatic nerve pain can be caused by a wide variety of reasons. This includes bone spurs, spine narrowing, piriformis syndrome, or a bulging disc that can occur during an injury or due to poor back health.

Symptoms of sciatic nerve damage include problems like inflammation, numbness, and shooting pain in the lower back, hips, and/or legs.

Things You Want to Avoid If You Have Sciatica

The symptoms of sciatica can range from mild to severe and, in many cases, it can reduce the patient’s quality of life. Consulting with a back pain specialist can help control lower discomfort due to sciatic nerve damage or irritation.

There are many treatment alternatives that may help soothe pain in this area, like regular exercises or therapies that target the spinal cord. But, the only way for patients to identify the best treatment is to seek help from a spine and back pain specialist in their area.

One of the biggest issues with sciatic pain is that it can be caused by a variety of different reasons. Not only this, but many patients try stretching and other common exercises looking for a spine health specialist, which can make the back pain much worse.

Here’s a few mistakes you want to avoid if you have lower back pain from sciatic nerve problems.

Maintaining Bad Posture

Bad posture is one of the most common causes of sciatic pain. The average person spends hours sitting in front of a computer every day, which can compress the lower back vertebrates and cause sciatic pain in this area. This can also cause flare ups in people with piriformis and make the pain worse in the long run.

Stretching Your Hamstrings

While stretching your hamstrings may feel like it’s soothing the pain, this can actually irritate the sciatic nerve. Which, in turn, may exacerbate the discomfort and cause severe pain without a good pain relief regime.

Self-Diagnosing and Self-Medicating

The internet is great for things like entertainment, but it’s also fueled the self-diagnosing movement. Informative articles are a great way to learn more, but they are not meant for patients to self-diagnose and skip treatment. Only a sciatic nerve specialist has the knowledge to diagnose and provide treatment for the symptoms, so seek medical attention as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Pushing Through the Pain

The “walk it off” mentality may be popular in some sports disciplines, but patients that suffer from sciatica should avoid pushing through the pain. As a matter of fact, this may lead to more intense pain and additional symptoms, so living in pain is not a good alternative. The only way to get long-lasting relief is to get treatment from a reliable specialist.

Heavy Core Exercise

A healthy and strong core can help prevent sciatica, but this doing heavy workouts after developing symptoms is not a good idea. The good news is that a spine health expert can create a light workout regime that allows you to strengthen your muscles without stressing this part of your body.

Using a Heat Pad

Using a heating pad to help with sciatica pain. While patients often say they’re successful in alleviating the pain from sciatica with a heating pad or hot shower, this isn’t the right approach. Why? You’re only temporarily relieving your pain symptoms because the heat causes fluid to build up, as well as more inflammation, that will eventually make pain worse.

Returning to Normal Activities Too Quickly

Don’t return to your normal activities too quickly! Even though your pain may be getting better because your inflammation is getting better, you shouldn’t immediately return to your normal activities.

Doing the Activities that Caused the Sciatica in the First Place

Try to avoid returning to activities that caused your sciatica. If you’ve managed to pinpoint what caused your sciatica in the first place, then you should do your best to avoid those things in the future.

Relying on Pharmaceuticals for Long-Term Support

Don’t rely on medication to make the pain go away. With medication, you’re likely treating symptoms instead of the root cause. Plus, pain medication is often addicting – leading to bigger problems than just sciatica. We highly recommend undergoing physical therapy to strengthen back muscles and prevent further injuries.

Waiting to See a Specialist

Severe sciatica symptoms can develop gradually or overnight. Instead of seeking attention right away, many patients choose to wait until the pain is too intense. At that point, treatment may be less effective and take longer to work, so it’s important to consult with a professional as soon as you start feeling pain or numbness.

Work with an Experienced Back Pain Specialist Today

Sciatica can produce symptoms like intense pain and numbness in the legs and lower back, which directly affect your ability to move freely. Patients that experience these signs understand the importance of finding treatments that help them control the pain in a safe and effective way.

If you want to find out more about the different sciatica treatment options available in North Seattle and surrounding areas, contact us today and our team will be glad to help.