The Link Between Prolonged Sitting and Sciatica

The Link Between Prolonged Sitting and Sciatica

How much time do you spend sitting each day? If you’re like most American adults, it’s at least six hours. In fact, more than half of all adults sit 6-8 hours each day, and 1 in 4 sit more than eight hours.

Sitting is an inevitable part of life in today’s world. We sit at work, at school, in the car, and at home. But spending all that time seated isn’t necessarily the best thing for our bodies, and prolonged sitting can increase your risk of back pain and nerve problems, like sciatica.

Dr. Peter Le and our team at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. in Santa Monica, California, know how daily habits can impact spine health, and we’re here to help you learn why sitting too much each day could contribute to your sciatica pain.

All about sciatica and sitting too long

The sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in your body, starts in your lower back. It splits near your hips and extends down both of your legs, all the way to the bottoms of your feet.

About 40% of Americans suffer sciatica at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common sources of back pain.

Sciatica can affect anyone at any age. It occurs when your sciatic nerve is compressed, causing symptoms like radiating pain through your lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs.

When you’re standing or lying down, your sciatic nerve pathway is straight, which reduces the likelihood of it being compressed. However, sitting changes the position of your sciatic nerve and can make sciatica worse.

When you sit, your body weight puts increased pressure on your sciatic nerve below your hips. The longer you sit, the more pressure that’s put on your nerves and the vertebrae in your lower spine, and the more likely it is that you experience worsening sciatica. 

Along with prolonged sitting, other factors like poor posture and weak core muscles can exacerbate your sciatica symptoms.

Ways to relieve sciatica pain

If you’ve noticed burning nerve pain in your lower back or your leg, it could be sciatica. Make an appointment at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. at the first sign of pain, so you can get the treatment you need.

Dr. Le and our team can diagnose sciatica with a comprehensive physical exam. We review your symptoms and order medical imaging, if needed, to confirm your diagnosis.

Mild sciatica may improve with a few simple lifestyle changes. Dr. Le may recommend spending more time on your feet to relieve sciatica symptoms. 

For example, take frequent breaks to stand and stretch while you’re at work, and get up during commercial breaks when you’re at home relaxing in front of the TV.

We may also suggest physical therapy to strengthen your back and increase flexibility. Other treatment options for sciatica include chiropractic manipulation, ultrasound treatment, and nonsurgical spinal decompression with DRX 9000™ technology

Bothered by pain that starts in your back and radiates down your legs? It might be sciatica from sitting too long each day. Get a diagnosis and practical tips to relieve your pain at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. Call us at 310-451-5851 or request an appointment online now.

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