3 Ways You May Be Triggering Your Sciatica

sciatica painSciatica is a term used to describe lower back pain that usually radiates down the leg and through the buttocks. In some cases, the pain experienced by the patient can go well beyond the knee, towards the foot. Limping and weakened leg muscles may also be interpreted as a symptom of sciatica.

Unfortunately, there are numerous activities that could trigger painful episodes and make the pain even worse. The list of activities that sciatica suffers should probably postpone or perform with great care and attention includes walking, running, sitting and standing for long periods of time and climbing stairs. Even the most normal actions that people do not always anticipate or control, such as coughing, laughing or sneezing can worsen the pain.

Below are three other lesser-known elements that can trigger sciatic pain.

1. Wallets, cell phones, credit cards kept in the back pocket.
As a general rule of thumb, any force that exercises a lot of pressure on the pelvis and lower back can aggravate sciatica symptoms. The reason for this is based on the location of the sciatic nerve in the body.  The sciatic nerve extends from the lumbar spine through the buttocks and behind the knee.  Sitting on bulky wallets or phones may cause compression of the sciatic nerve and trigger sciatic pain.  This is why avoiding stuffing back pockets or carrying heavy items inside their purses is recommended.

2. High heels and improperly cushioned shoes may trigger your sciatica.
Sciatic pain can be caused by several other factors, including uncomfortable shoes that put a lot of stress on feet, knees and lower back. Many women who wear high heels on a regular basis complain about intense sciatic pain.   The reason for this is a result of the body naturally compensation for the altered weight distribution when wearing high heels.  Shoes with a heel of 2 inches or higher cause the foot to slide forward in the shoe and place excessive weight toward the front of the body.  In an effort to correct this, many people will arch their backs backward causing stress and strain to the muscles and nerves within the lumbar spine.

3. Being overweight or obesity may trigger sciatica.
Excessive weight can put a lot of stress on the lumbar spine. Therefore, losing weight can be very beneficial for those who are seeking relief from sciatic pain. Even moderate weight loss may help reduce excessive strain and stress on the spinal and intervertebral discs. However, it is best to consult a spine specialist before engaging in any workout program as certain exercises may trigger pain and further irritation of the sciatic nerve.

Dr. Anthony Virella is a Board-Certified, Fellowship trained Neurological Spine Surgeon with advanced training in the management of complex spinal disorders. He attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is a graduate of the UCLA Neurosurgery Residency Program. Dr. Virella completed his complex spine in-folding resident fellowship at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation with Dr. Edward C. Benzel, M.D. Additional work included a second fellowship in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center.

Dr. Virella is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of complex and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and has offices located in Augora Hills, Valencia and Palmdale.

If you, or someone you love, is suffering from persistent neck or back pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment.