If you are reading this, there is a good chance you've had sciatica. Sciatica is a very unpleasant condition characterized by burning, shooting pain and sometimes targeted numbness in one or both legs. The condition affects 40% of all adults at some point in their life! The good news? It responds very well to chiropractic treatment. The bad news? You may be guilty of a few of these nasty habits...
4 Nasty Habits That Are Causing Your Sciatica
1. Sitting for long periods of time
Raise your hand if you sit a lot? All of us, right? One of the problems with sitting is that most of us sit with our legs seperated and our feet pointing outward. Unfortunately, this posture forces the piriformis muscle (located in your butt and hip) to tighten and shorten. When sitting this way for an extended period, the muscle will lose flexibility and cause imbalance in your spine. This can lead to a host of issues, one of which is sciatica.
Try to take frequent stretch breaks if you have a sedentary job. You may also want to ask your chiropractor for stretches to help lengthen the piriformis muscle.
2. Carrying a heavy purse, briefcase, or child
If you've ever been guilty of trying to haul all the groceries in at once this nasty habit of carrying heavy things may be the source of your sciatica. Sioux Falls Chiropractic doctors see a lot of sciatic pain among mothers and fathers of young children for this very reason. Carrying heavy objects, especially on one side of the body only, can lead to misalignments or subluxations in your spine due to the twisting your body does to compensate for the extra weight.
Life sometimes requires us to carry the groceries, a briefcase, or our whining toddler, but try to limit the amount of time you spend carrying that heavy load. If you do have to carry heavy objects, make sure you alternate the side of your body you use or trade out carrying the child for pushing a stroller. And get a chiropractic adjustment to help relieve those subluxations!
3. Crossing your legs
For those with this habit, it is HARD to break, but important. Crossing your legs alters your pelvic position and places unnecessary pressure on your hip flexors, piriformis muscle, and sciatic nerve. Over time this can lead to inflammation and sciatic pain.
Take note of the times you are most tempted to cross your legs. Many times individuals cross their legs to make a chair or couch more comfortable. If this is the case, it may be time for new furniture that encourages you to sit in a proper ergonomic position that is right for your body. When you do cross your legs, take time to stretch afterwards to lengthen those muscles and relieve tension.
4. Ignoring that extra weight
Losing weight isn't easy, and it is easy to put off. Carrying extra weight leads to more pressure on your spine and that pressure often translates to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is actually the largest nerve in the human body and it covers a lot of ground. It runs from your lower back all the way down your leg. Extra weight, especially belly fat, can skew your center of gravity forward and cause your spine to move differently. This can lead to an increased chance of sciatica.
Talk to your chiropractor about how you can shed extra weight in a healthy way. Try making small and gradual changes to your diet. Even a small amount of weight loss can help reduce your sciatic pain!
Sioux Falls Chiropractic offers a wide variety of treatment options for sciatica and sciatic nerve pain including chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue techniques, rehabilitative therapy, acupuncture and nutritional therapy to help you shed those extra pounds. If you are interested in a free consultation or appointment, click below!