If you spend hours sitting at the office, plus additional time in the car or train for a commute, you are probably familiar with lower back pain, or the more debilitating sciatica aches. Luckily, there are ways to alleviate your pain. Consult the guide below to learn about this medical issue and how to relieve the symptoms of this common ailment.
What Causes Sciatica?
The condition is usually caused when a herniated disk or bone spur compresses the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from the lower back, through the hips and glutes, and down the back of each leg. Pain can be a dull ache to sharp, electrical pain, and typically affects one side or the other, or may situate in the sacrum area. Some people experience chronic sciatica that comes and goes throughout the day while sitting at their desk at work. If you do have chronic low back pain or numbness in one leg that is severe enough to keep you from normal activities, it’s wise to seek care.
What Are the Options for Relief?
A variety of treatment options exist for minimizing sciatica pain, some of which can be done on your own. These include taking time away from the desk to move, stretch, or perform light exercises. Set the alarm on your phone to remind you to get up every hour for 10 minutes or so. Take a walk, and do some hamstring stretches. If you have active pain, do not bend past the waist or do jumping jacks. Exercise gets the blood flowing again to the low back, and eases the compression caused by sitting.
Some people find that applying heat helps reduce pain. Use a disposable heat pack at work, or if you have a microwaveable heat pack, bring that to apply to your back throughout the day.
You can also bring two tennis balls to work to place between the chair and your back to roll over the painful areas. Or, if your office has a private room, lie on the floor and roll over affected areas to relieve pressure. This strategy doesn’t work for everyone, so if it makes the pain worse, you should stop immediately.
Which Forms of Professional Treatment Can Help?
Persistent sciatica pain needs to be treated by a professional, as both the cause and potential nerve damage should be addressed. A standard medical route could include imaging to determine the exact cause of the compression first. Your physician will then recommend physical therapy, steroid injections, and in extreme cases, surgery.
Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists can also work with sciatica in less invasive ways. Acupuncture, in particular, has been shown to be an outstanding aid in pain relief. It has been shown to have an 80% effectiveness rate in pain relief, and even more so when used in conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine.
If you suffer from sciatica, find a practitioner that can help alleviate your pain. Marie Gonzales, L.Ac. in Nyack, NY, offers acupuncture treatment customized to your needs. Marie is a licensed and trained acupuncturist and has been in practice for over 20 years. Her center serves the New York metropolitan area and Rockland County with compassionate and efficient care. Call (845) 398-1312 to schedule an appointment or visit her website to learn more about acupuncture treatment.