The pandemic has evacuated many of us from our offices to our homes, but it hasn’t taken away work from our lives. Moreover, with a technically upgrading globe, papers are used less while computers are being used more. What technology couldn’t replace is our working desk that comes along with a squeaky chair. We all know how that feels, don’t we?
The question is… Are you facing problems by sitting all day long by your desk? You probably are. The reason behind it could very likely be Sciatica.
But what is Sciatica?
Sciatica is basically a medical condition when pain radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve that branches from the lower back, down through the leg, possibly as far as the feet. It occurs when the sciatic nerve faces compression or irritation.
The compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve that travels down the back of your body can result in sciatica. It may typically affect only one side of your body. The age for Sciatica’s first occurrence has fallen down as compared to earlier times. Individuals as young as in their 20's are experiencing Sciatica pain. One of the causes is a poor lifestyle with respect to physical aspects: long hours of sitting, improper posture, overweight body and declined fitness.
The symptoms of sciatica include:
Let us learn some simple ways to relieve sciatica.
A bad posture adds to the pain of Sciatica. The majority of the time an individual spends during the day is usually in his/her office at their desk. Hence, sitting correctly needs to be treated as a priority.
How does one sit correctly? Here’s how!
• Neck upright • Shoulders relaxed • Arms close to your body • Feet flat on the floor • Knees bent at 90-degree angle
Also, a few don'ts to follow while you are sitting: • Do not sit with 1 leg under the buttocks. Instead, use a symmetrical posture. • Do not sit with 1 leg crossed over the other for prolonged periods You can, instead, sit with both legs crossed in your seat such as the 'Sukhasana' pose in yoga.
Holding your body in a single position can bring stress to many muscles throughout your body. Prolonged sitting inhibits the glute muscles (buttocks) which can cause further problems in the posterior chain of one's body. So taking standing breaks every 25-45 minutes can help relax your muscles as well as relieve your pain.
Standing is an active process, and following an ergonomically supported standing posture can help relieve stresses on your lower back and minimize sciatica pain. You can occasionally switch to a standing desk too. It's super easy to make a DIY standing desk if you don't prefer purchasing available products!
Working at a desk requires one to sit at a place for hours. It’s advisable to take short walks in order to enhance your blood flow and loosen your muscles.
Fetching some water or perhaps, some coffee is a good excuse to take a walk as it will facilitate your hydration too. Furthermore, you can stand for meetings and answer phone calls while walking to loosen your stiff body.
Seated Nerve Glide
Additionally, you can perform the below stretches which can be modified while you are seated in your chair (as sitting on the floor/ lying down may not be possible at work)
Heat/cold packs can help relieve the pain, only when you know when to use what. Heat packs can be used before doing an activity. It is similar to warming up before a football game. On the other hand, cold packs are used after performing an activity to relax your muscles. Hence, gym trainers recommend taking cold water showers post workouts.
Keep an ice pack in your office as well as your home freezer. Use one of the microwavable hot packs for 10-15 mins, 2-4 times a day for pain relief.
Very important to Note: These Sciatica exercises/ treatment ideas are generic in nature and may not suit everybody as people may present with different clinical presentations and the root cause for their sciatica may vary. Hence, at TheraCure, there is no ‘one size fits all approach. It’s for the same reason that one mustn’t blindly follow their friend’s sciatica exercise program. Instead, consult a therapist to get your customized exercise program.
Also, remember to be cautious while doing your exercise program and miscellaneous movements. If something hurts/ increases your pain when you do it, refrain from doing it immediately and consult your therapist for a solution. It does not make sense to push past the pain in these cases.
As much as Sciatica is a common condition, it can cause trouble if you ignore it. It can cause severe physical pain, not to mention, mental distress. Watch out for your back. Actively work on that "pain in your butt".
If you are still having trouble in understanding how to go about getting a good posture, sign up here for personalised consultations with our Posture Therapist.