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Sciatica: Prevention Tips

By HERWriter
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tips to prevent sciatica Hemera/Thinkstock

Recently, I was supposed to drive to Boston to see some wonderful friends of the family. The morning we were scheduled to depart, I woke up in excruciating pain with the pain shooting down from my lower back down to my upper back thigh.

I literally could not get out of bed. My husband said, “It is your sciatica.” I shrieked, “My what?”

The word “sciatica” sounded like my husband wanted me to try new recipe for dinner.

I proceeded to call my friends in Boston and tell them there was no way I could sit in a car for 5.5 hours with my new sciatica issue. My girlfriend was very sympathetic and mentioned she had issues with her sciatica during both of her pregnancies.

I have never experienced back pain in my life and my husband proceeded to reveal a story about how he sneezed and aggravated his sciatica. I was absolutely stunned that a sneeze could result in so much pain.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an instant fix if you have tweaked your sciatic nerve. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) approximately 80 to 90 percent of patients with sciatica get better over time without surgery.

In my case, the best way to remedy a sciatica issue is prevention. However, if you are bent over in pain, another key issue is to get out of bed within 24 hours.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but exercise may be the best thing for the sciatica nerve. But, do not overdo it. In my case, a slow 10 to 15 minute walk made my situation better.

I popped a couple of Tylenol and applied ice and I was on my way to healing nicely. A chiropractor in Chicago told me to apply the ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off and to do this four to six times per day.

In regards to preventative measures, the Disabled-World.com website recommends the following in no particular order:

• Set your workstation up correctly - screen at eye level. Sit upright at your desk with your lower back slightly curved. Don't slump in your chair or hunch over your keyboard.

• Stand upright and pay attention to posture - don't slouch.

• Change your position frequently.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I own The Back Pain Company, backpainco.com, and sciatica is one of the most common complaints we see. Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, almost instantaneously. This article does a good job of capturing basic techniques of sciatica prevention and treatment. Not to put too obvious of a plug into this comment for our products, but (like mentioned in the article) an important part of recovery and further prevention is proper lumbar support and spinal alignment. I would recommend an ergonomic lumbar cushion. It's an inexpensive solution to a painful problem. They can be fasted to most car bucket seats and office chairs, which is where most people tend to sit incorrectly and for long periods of time.

Here is a link to our most popular car lumbar cushion... we know they are effective because they are our most popular selling item.

May 2, 2012 - 2:11pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi MC Kelby,

Great advice on relieving sciatic pain. I would also like to add in the use of professional massage and self massage using a foam roller or a ball. My partner had sciatic pain during her pregnancy and the combo of massage and stretching cleared it up immediately. And as a therapist, I generally see cases of sciatic pain caused by muscle imbalance become pain free within a session or two.

Here is an article on how to self treat low back and sciatic pain.


Hope it helps.

Jesse James Retherford

April 25, 2012 - 7:32pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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