Sciatica and Lifestyle

It's kind of ironic. Many of the technological advances of the 20th century have enabled us to develop more cutting edge tests and treatments to identify the causes of back pain and sciatica, and how to treat them. On the other hand, advances in technology in America have also resulted in more sedentary desk-type jobs, rather than occupations that require us to push our bodies. In the last 25 years, manufacturing-type jobs have gone overseas, while jobs that require us to move numbers back and forth across a computer screen have multiplied. These types of jobs put pressure on the soft tissues and muscles of the lower backs, hips, and upper legs. As a result, we may develop back problems such as piriformis syndrome and sciatica. There are also several lifestyle factors that may increase the likelihood of people suffering from sciatica. Let's take a closer look at some of them.

Sciatica and Lifestyle:

A sedentary lifestyle of occupation may increase the likelihood of the sciatic nerve becoming irritated or compressed. Due to continued periods of inactivity, a person is more likely to gain weight, which adds more gravity weight to the structures of the lower back, sacrum, and coccyx. A sedentary lifestyle may also cause weakness of the muscles that support the spine. A sedentary lifestyle may also result in long periods of sitting, which is a posture that puts more pressure on the lower back than most other body positions. Bad sitting postures may also add to the strain on the lower back. When the abdominal and back muscles become weak, they cannot adequately hold the spine erect. This muscle weakness may put added pressures on the weight-bearing and non-weight bearing structures, and may cause dislocations among the facet joints and vertebral bodies. These added strains on the structures and the movement of back structures out of position may cause pinching of the spinal nerves. The sciatic nerve is particularly susceptible to pressure that results from inadequate positioning of the spine.

Nutrition and Nutritional Counseling: Your diet may also be a factor in your musculoskeletal health, or lack thereof. The old adage that you have heard since you were young - you are what you eat - rings true in terms of the maintenance of your body and its joints. A balanced diet may prolong the life of your joints, improve bone density, and accelerate the healing process when your joints, muscles, and ligaments become injured. If your diet is poor, and you do not remain adequately hydrated, your muscles are more likely to use and build up lactic acid after exercise and workouts, which can lead to pain. The buildup of lactic acid in the bones is more likely to occur if you have a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugars. Deficiencies in certain minerals and nutrients may cause the bones to weaken, low energy, poor muscle development, and nerve damage. Studies have shown that people with low levels of vitamin-B12 in their bloodstream are more likely to suffer from neuropathic pain, lower back pain, and sciatica.

Muscle tightness: Often, inflexibility of the lower back, hip, and leg muscles results in irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerves. Stretching of the muscles involved with the sciatic symptoms may improve pain and discomfort levels. Stretching of the hamstring muscles, which are located on the back of the thigh, should improve flexibility of the leg, and may reduce the symptoms of sciatica.