Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It starts in your lower spine and branches in two, running through your buttocks and down both legs. If this nerve gets irritated or compressed — which most commonly happens near the spinal canal — this can cause sharp, shooting, or jolting pains. This condition is called sciatica.
Common causes of sciatica include:
Fortunately, Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center's spine surgery specialist, Dr. Jocelyn Idema, can help you to get your symptoms under control.
If you have a history of sciatica, our experienced team can also put together a comprehensive treatment strategy to help you avoid flare-ups. In addition to medical treatment, we may also recommend doing the five following things.
Diet plays an essential role in preventing sciatica flare-ups for two important reasons. First, being overweight or obese puts added pressure on your spine, which increases your risk of developing sciatica. However, sciatica symptoms also develop because of nerve inflammation.
As a result, it’s crucial to follow a diet that can help manage your weight and lower inflammation. Such a diet could include the following:
For extra benefits, add ginger, green and black tea, or turmeric to your menu, because these substances all contain potent anti-inflammatory substances that can build your immunity and improve your overall health.
In an ideal world, you’d get all of the nutrients you need from the foods you eat. However, some micronutrients can be difficult to obtain through diet alone. After going over your medical history and giving you a thorough exam, your doctor may recommend adding micronutrients that can support nerve health and suppress inflammation. The supplements we recommend might include one or more of the following:
Your doctor may also recommend adding omega-3 fatty acids to your daily supplements.
Do you want to avoid pain medication and improve your overall health at the same time? Consider making massage part of your health care regimen.
Not only does massage promote relaxation by releasing endorphins, but it also soothes sore muscles and improves blood circulation. While there are numerous types of massage, some are more effective with sciatica pain than others, such as deep tissue massage, manual therapy, and myofascial release.
Based on your underlying condition and overall health, we can make personalized suggestions on the best massage techniques to help keep your symptoms at bay.
Exercise comes with numerous health benefits, including helping prevent sciatica flare-ups. However, the right activities can offer better outcomes.
Our team recommends avoiding activities that may aggravate your sciatic nerve, especially those that put pressure on the lower back, hips, or thighs. These types of activities often include running, squatting, forward bends with straight legs, and double leg lifts while lying down.
Instead, focus on low-impact options, such as walking, swimming, cycling, gentle stretching, and core-strengthening exercises. It’s also important to start slowly, especially if you’re new to exercise, and build up your intensity over time.
Why, yes! We are going to tell you that you should sit up straight. But that’s not the only time you should think about practicing good posture.
Most people overlook the importance of good posture. However, improper alignment puts added stress on your spine and the muscles supporting it. Whether you’re sitting, walking, running, or lifting a heavy box on the job, it’s essential to keep your body aligned and engaged in good body mechanics.
We can identify alignment issues in your body and offer guidance on how to correct them. For example, when sitting down, choose a chair that has good lower back support and that allows you to keep your knees and hips level. When you lift heavy objects, let your lower body do the work while keeping your back straight and bending only at your knees.
Call the practice in Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks, or Washington, Pennsylvania, now to schedule a consultation.