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5 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sciatica Pain

Sciatica is a common condition that can cause a considerable amount of pain that begins in your lower back and radiates down through your lower extremities. If you’re struggling with this problem, there are a few steps that you can take to ease your pain and prevent it from returning in the future. 

At Summit Pain Alliance located in Santa Rosa and Petaluma, California, our team of pain management specialists has extensive experience helping Northern California residents who struggle with sciatica. While we can certainly do our part to provide relief for your sciatic pain, there are several lifestyle changes you can make at home that will go a long way toward easing your discomfort.

1. Keep moving

We understand that when you’re experiencing sciatica, the last thing on your mind may be moving around. For many with this condition, certain movements can lead to shooting pain, which might cause you to think that limiting your movement is beneficial.

Quite the contrary, movement can help relieve your pain, since the problem often stems from a compressed or pinched nerve in your lower back. 

While we’re not suggesting you overdo it, do try and go for regular walks or a slow jog. This movement may not only free up your nerve, but it also promotes better circulation, which can reduce inflammation.

2. Stretch it out

Another great way to ease sciatica pain is through stretching. Whether you simply touch your toes or go a few steps further with practices like yoga, stretching helps relieve muscle spasms associated with your sciatica and keeps your body’s natural healing resources flowing freely.

3. Massage it out

A deep massage accomplishes encompassing benefits, including:

If you’re unable to get a massage, try applying heat and cold to your lower back intermittently throughout the day — 10-15 minutes of an ice pack to reduce inflammation and then 20-30 minutes of penetrating heat. You can do this three to five times a day to keep your pain and discomfort to a minimum.

4. Get proper rest

When you sleep, your mind shuts down, which lets your body go to work on a cellular level to restore and heal itself. Interestingly, your body’s inflammatory response is most active while you sleep, but if you’re not sleeping well, your healing response won’t properly function.

With good, restorative sleep, your body’s inflammatory agents quickly do their work and then subside, allowing you to feel less pain in the morning.

5. Don’t sit for extended periods

One of the worst things you can do when you have sciatica is to spend prolonged periods sitting down. If you must sit, be mindful of your posture — both feet on the floor, spine straight, and shoulders back. As well, take frequent breaks and get up to stretch and move to release the compression on your irritated nerve.

If your sciatica continues after making these lifestyle adjustments, we urge you to contact one of our two locations in Santa Rosa or Petaluma, California, to set up an appointment.

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