Sciatica – otherwise known as Sciatic Nerve Pain – is a common condition that affects many individuals. It is caused by the compression and/or irritation of the sciatic nerve in the body, resulting in pain that radiates from the lower back to your feet. Sciatic nerve pain is usually quite severe, and whilst it can get better in around a month or two, for many it can last a lot longer and even become a lifelong problem.
Sciatica flare ups can be triggered by a range of different factors, from emotional anxiety to dietary habits. Whilst sciatic nerve pain can be helped and managed through treatment, it can unfortunately flare up from time to time, and so understanding the root cause and what can trigger the pain is an important part of your recovery process.
Stress, depression and negative emotions in general can lead to sciatica pain as during turbulent times the brain may deprive certain nerves – including the sciatic nerve – of oxygen, leading to weakness, leg pain and tingling sensations typically associated with sciatica.
Dietary habits and excessive weight can also exacerbate the pain of sciatica due to the additional pressure that is placed on your spine and your back in general. As more weight is gained, the pressure on your sciatic nerve is increased, resulting in more pain as well as long lasting damage to the sciatic nerve. This is why in many cases, a healthier diet and management of weight is recommended to limit sciatica flare ups and pain.
Other causes of sciatica flare ups can include wearing tight fitting clothing which can irritate the sciatic nerve and lead to a bout of pain, as can wearing high heels as this shifts your body weight forward and forces your hips to flex forward in order to hold you upright. This causes hip pain in many situations and can again irritate the sciatic nerve, worsening the pain.
As mentioned above, certain dietary habits can cause sciatica pain. Whilst it’s difficult to pinpoint a direct correlation between specific foods and sciatica pain, it’s safe to say that overconsumption of certain types of foods such as those high in saturated fats can lead to weight gain, which then causes pressure on the sciatic nerve and triggers additional pain.
Being aware of the triggers and causes behind sciatica flare ups can help you to make conscious decisions about what to avoid and how to manage your lifestyle to limit sciatica pain and flare ups. Seeking treatment is also a good option especially if your sciatica pain is having quite the adverse effect on your day to day life and has lasted a lot longer than it should. Here at Ramsay, our trained osteopaths can assist with many back conditions using a variety of techniques including massage, mobilisation and exercise therapy.
If you’re looking to treat moderate sciatic pain at home, there are a number of different things you can do to manage and decrease the pain. This can include using hot or cold packs and applying them alternately to the painful area, doing stretching exercises to reduce the pressure on your sciatic nerve and also over the counter medications such as ibuprofen etc to relieve the inflammatory pain.
Get in touch with our medical experts today if you’re experiencing sciatica pain that isn’t improving over time or easing with home remedies for advice and treatment.