Five things that can make your sciatica worse

What Makes Sciatica Worse

People who are feeling pain that starts in the lower back and radiates down the leg likely have sciatica. This lower back condition is typically caused by an inflamed or herniated disc rubbing against the root of the sciatic nerve. Taking it easy for a few days can help the pain go away, but if you do certain things, it could come back in seconds. Here are five things that can make your sciatica worse: 

1.   Bending forward

Bending forward from the waist is a movement you should avoid if you have sciatica. Since the sciatic nerve runs over the buttock on its way into the leg, using this muscle can trigger an increase in sciatica pain. This is because bending forward can cause the buttock muscles to rub against the sciatic nerve and increase the irritation it’s experiencing. 

2.   Sitting for too long

Sitting for too long has also been known to make sciatica worse, and the reason for this is that sitting can compress the sciatic nerve where it runs over the buttock. In fact, many doctors recommend that you try to stand up as much as possible when you have sciatica. If you do need to rest, then lying down flat on your back is better for this condition. This is because the pressure is spread across the entire back of your body and not focused on the buttock. 

3.   Lifting objects

Not only does lifting a heavy object typically require bending forward, it also places additional stress on the spine. The added stress can squash the disc that’s pinching the sciatic nerve even more, and for this reason, lifting things that are heavy can make sciatica worse. 

4.   Coughing

Coughing doesn’t seem like something that can affect sciatica, but it actually can make sciatica much worse. Think for a second about what your body does when you cough. Most people hunch forward, and this places added stress on the lower back. Like lifting, this added stress can increase the pinching of the sciatic nerve, and in turn, this can cause your symptoms to get worse. 

5.   Sleeping on your side

 A final thing you should avoid if you’re dealing with sciatica is sleeping on your side. When you sleep on your side, there’s a higher chance that your spine could be misaligned, and the misalignment can put additional strain on the lower back. Many side sleepers also draw their knees up slightly, and this only makes things worse if you have sciatica. This is because the fetal position engages the buttock muscles, which can then cause more sciatic nerve irritation. 

Find treatments that don’t make sciatica worse at Panther Physical Therapy

At Panther Physical Therapy, our team is proud to help people treat painful back issues like sciatica. One of our complimentary screenings can help us determine what symptoms you have. We can then build you a treatment plan designed to target your symptoms and the root cause of your sciatica using therapy methods such as: 

Take the next step toward reducing your sciatica pain. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.