Sitting and Sciatica

Sciatica

Sciatica

“I cannot find a comfortable position!” This is the most common complaint I hear from my sciatica clients and most of them say it about sitting. (Other top complaints which I will address in later posts are: “Any little movement is excruciating” “I don’t know why I am going through this” “It hurts from my butt to my heel “and “If I could just get some sleep!”)

Sitting is a major issue for those with Sciatica and the reason is pretty straight forward. As you sit, all the weight of your upper body rests in your lower back area and increases the compression in and on your discs and spinal column. This pressure causes increased pressure against the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve, thus pinching it further, aggravating your Sciatica symptoms. Whether it be a disc bulge that is squeezed further or compression around the joints that are irritated causing further irritation, the result is the same, more pain down the leg (and possibly in the back as well).

Do any of these sound familiar to you? “My job requires sitting for hours a day and it is excruciating by the end of the day!” “Will I ever be able to sit again without pain?” “Is there hope that I can get sit comfortably again?” “Why can’t I sit long enough to drive to the store?” “I cannot even sit long enough to enjoy my grandbaby!” IF so, YOU are not alone as these are things I hear on a daily basis when dealing with clients who are suffering from Sciatica.

Though it often does not feel like it, there is hope! It is never as fast as we like it, nor does the relief ever come soon enough, but I have watched too many clients go from agony to relief, hopelessness to hopeful, wanting to quit to fighting back and winning the battle! I love to see the expression on my clients’ faces when they tell me how they sat without pain for a ten minute car ride (typically without realizing it happened until it was over), or sat on the floor and played with their kids / grandkids.

A few quick tips for you when you are sitting:

  • 1. Do not sit in one position for too long, and do not sit without standing up and moving every 20-30 minutes. “Too long” means when symptoms start shift your position to find the most comfortable position possible (It may be as simple as slouching to sitting up straight).
  • 2. Have a good back support in your low back when sitting. Whether a small pillow or towel roll, keep your low back supported will help minimize disc moving backwards causing more pain.
  • 3. Avoid the soft sofa, as it will cause you to stay slouched putting more pressure on discs and low back.
  • 4. Stay hydrated. This keeps your discs lubricated and absorbing your weight properly which will help avoid compressing of low back joints and compromising nerve roots.

I hope you find these tips helpful and as always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions at info@volkpt.com

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Dean Volk

Dean Volk

Dean, graduated with a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University and has furthered his studies with a number of post-graduate courses focusing on the shoulder, knee, and back, with a strong emphasis in manual therapy. He has completed all Levels (I,II & III) of training in Total Motion Release which has afforded him an excellent way to relieve pain and restore function quickly and effectively. With 20+ years experience in Physical Therapy, Dean has practiced in various orthopedic and sports focused clinical settings, in Phoenix, AZ, Charlotte,NC and most recently Charleston, SC. During his years of service, Dean has cared for a wide variety of clients: from school-aged children to retirees, from homemakers to business professionals, from weekend warriors to professional athletes.

Dean and his wife Trudy have 2 sons, Ben and Jesse who both graduated from the College of Charleston. Dean is an avid sports fan, enjoys spending time with his family and working with his clients to improve their lives.
Dean Volk

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