Sciatica, or lumbar radiculopathy, pain is no walk in the park. When this pinched nerve condition flares up, you suffer painful and potentially debilitating symptoms. Sciatica pain runs along the path of your sciatic nerve in your lower spine, through your buttocks, and down each of your legs.
Dr. Beejal Y. Amin and his team in Oak Lawn, South Holland, and Orland Park, Illinois, support new and existing patients with sciatica. If you suffer from sciatica, you should know about these strategies for effective sciatica prevention from Dr. Amin.
Muscle tightness in your legs, buttocks, and lower back puts pressure on your sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica flare-ups.
Stretches and exercises to address and prevent sciatica include hamstring stretches focused on your legs and exercise focused on increasing the strength of your core.
With the right physical therapy plan, you may be able to prevent sciatica pain from becoming a problem for you in the first place.
Sciatica involves inflammation of your sciatic nerve. Strategies designed to resolve inflammation in the body may be able to help with your sciatica.
These strategies might include changing your diet to anti-inflammatory elements like fatty fish, whole grains, vegetables, and nuts. Or, you might need to eat less sugar or refined carbohydrates, which can increase inflammation.
Taking supplements of vitamins D, E, B12, and B6, selenium, and zinc may be helpful when dealing with chronic sciatic inflammation.
Dr. Amin can also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce your sciatica symptoms. Epidural steroid injections are another way to reduce inflammation in your sciatic nerve.
Healthy weight loss is a great way to take pressure off your sciatic nerve. If you lose just 5-10% of your body weight, you’re likely to experience a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of your sciatica flare-ups. Healthy weight loss strategies include dietary and lifestyle changes and gentle exercise.
If sciatica pain makes exercise challenging, Dr. Amin can recommend options like swimming that are more likely to work for sciatica patients.
Another way to take pressure off your spinal nerves is to adjust your footwear, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet. High heels can tilt you in ways likely to result in sciatica. Switching to supportive, flat footwear re-adjusts your body weight so that your sciatic nerve isn’t at risk in the same fashion.
Sciatica can be related to underlying structural issues with your spine. If your sciatica persistently recurs, talk to Dr. Amin about diagnostic testing for spinal health problems that can cause sciatica, like:
Dr. Amin uses diagnostic imaging tools like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to learn more about your spinal health and determine if you may need treatment for an underlying spinal condition to stop your sciatica from recurring.