Woman with sciatic pain holding her leg

Preventing & Fixing Sciatica

In the midst of a viral outbreak sweeping the globe, we have been relegated to staying at home in order to contain the spread. All this extra time at home has lead to increased amount of time sitting down for long periods of time. This is a perfect example of when sciatica may make an appearance.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a symptom that can occur as a result of a few different conditions. Yes, that's right; sciatica is a symptom of a different problem, not a condition of its own. Sciatica is an irritation of the sciatic nerve characterized by pain, tingling, or numbness felt between the top of the butt and down the toes, or anywhere in between. The sciatic nerve runs from near the end of your spine on each side of your pelvis and down each leg.

What causes sciatica?

There are a few conditions where this symptom occurs. The most common reason is that it's a result of a low back disc herniation. The disc is a soft, flexible structure that sits between the bones of your spine. Sometimes they can break after trauma, repetitive strain, or degeneration. When this disc becomes injured, it change shape and press into some of the joint spaces where nerves live. This narrowing of the spaces can cause the nerve to exhibit a variety of symptoms, such as pain, numbness and tingling.

The second most common reason (but still far less common than disc injury) is entrapment of the sciatic nerve in tissues outside of the spine. This can occur in tight muscles. One example of this is in a muscle called the piriformis, near the back of your hip. In almost one out of five people, the sciatic nerve travels right through this muscle. If the muscle becomes really tight and strained, this can affect the sciatic nerve.

A common way for people to experience sciatica is after a long period of sitting followed by a shock of pain in the leg upon standing.

What can I do if I have sciatica?

First, it's important to get a proper diagnosis from your chiropractor to determine if this is actually your issue. If you have a sciatica, there are some exercises that can help with the pain. Check out our Instagram post below for a video of home exercises for sciatica.