If you have had sciatica, you know how painful it can be. The pain is generally in the lower back and can shoot all throughout the buttocks and even down the leg to the foot. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body that originates in the spinal column of the lower back. Sometimes sciatic pain can be triggered by moving incorrectly or lifting something heavy. Some causes of sciatic pain include herniated discs (slipped disks), spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the canal that holds the spinal cord), spondylolistheses (where a disk shifts over or behind another disk), a pinched sciatic nerve, piriformis syndrome (which causes the nerve to become buried dead in the buttocks), osteoarthritis, or pregnancy. Some factors that may make you more susceptible to developing sciatic pain include obesity, aging, prolonged sitting, and a sedentary lifestyle.
If you find yourself in pain you can treat sciatic pain at home using the following tips: avoid sitting on a soft low chair, do not bend or lift incorrectly, use ice to alleviate the inflammation (you may also try alternating ice and heat), try having a massage, lay on a firm surface with a pillow between your knees and your back straight, or try taking over the counter pain meds such as Advil, Tylenol or Aleve. If none of these are working for you, physical therapy may be a viable option.
The best way to avoid developing sciatic pain includes using proper lifting techniques, maintaining flexibility, include walking, yoga and Pilates in your exercise program, keeping your weight in a healthy range, and avoid sitting in one position for too long.