What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the condition felt most commonly while sitting for long hours. Whether you are sitting on a couch, at your desk or in your car, sciatica symptoms are the same. Sciatica pain can be felt from your lower back and extend into your feet. Most sciatica pain is located in the lower back and buttocks/thigh regions. Sciatica pain is usually sharp and steady.
Sciatica pain is reflective of pressure on your sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve runs from the base of your spine, down the back of your thighs to your knees. Therefore, when your sciatic nerve is pinched by a herniated disc, inflamed muscle, or other underlying condition, you can feel it in almost the entire lower half of your body.
Typically, sciatica pain will not result from sitting improperly during a single occasion. Sciatica pain results from improper posture and muscle imbalance over time. Although you may sit fully back in your seat, so your lumbar region is supported, you may be slightly leaning to one side. In this case, sciatica is caused by improper spine alignment. In other cases, you may sit perfectly straight, but slightly slouched. In this case, your sciatica may be caused by unnatural pressure from a bulging disc. Do note, that sciatica pain can be caused by more underlying conditions such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or another back problem.
Fortunately, sciatica pain can be treated quickly and you can start to feel back pain relief immediately. Heat therapy is a great method for initiating sciatica pain relief. Whether sitting in a hot bath or using a lumbar heat pack, heat will relax the muscles in your lower back. Sciatica pain can be caused by tightened or strained muscles. When heat is applied to muscles they release tension and increase blood flow. Therefore, if you have sciatica pain, place a heat pack or a teeter hang ups (review) behind you while your laying down or sitting.
The next step is continued (and daily/regular) support for your lumbar region. Your lumbar region is one of the main pivotal points of your body. Your middle back moves the least. Your upper back and shoulders experience moderate flexibility. But your lower back is the most flexible, and therefore the most vulnerable to pain and misuse.
Proper posture and lumbar support can largely reduce your sciatica pain. An ergonomic lumbar cushion is a lumbar cushion designed to contour to the natural curves of your body. While placing a rolled up towel behind your back may help you maintain posture, you may only be sacrificing posture elsewhere. The key characteristics of an ergonomic lumbar cushion include side-support wings, supportive foam (or ‘giving’ material), and a slimming back. The side support wings maintain posture for healthy spine alignment. Most likely, you naturally lean to one side. The side-support wings will help you realize that. The material must be a supportive material; it must ‘give’ while providing support. This will allow the lumbar cushion to maintain proper support while your body maintains its natural, healthy curvature. A slimming back is important because you should not be pushed too far forward from the back of your seat. If you are pushed too far forward, it will put unnatural pressure on your middle back. Don’t solve a problem by creating another problem.