Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica Flare-Ups: Causes and Chiropractic Care

Share

Sciatica is a prevalent and painful issue. Keeping it in check can be difficult, especially with various causes that can generate flare-ups. Individuals managing sciatica must pay attention and be vigilant of the negative activities/movements that could cause symptoms to reappear. A few common causes include:

  • Excessively tight-fitting pants
  • Improperly lifting heavy objects
  • Poor posture
  • Weight gain
  • Not stretching out
  • Wearing the wrong shoes

Knowing what not to do is just as effective for helping sciatica flare-ups as knowing what is best.

Sciatica Causes

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve. It comes out the spine through the pelvis, down the leg to the foot. One sciatic nerve on each side of the body can either become irritated, injured, or inflamed. However, both are rarely irritated at the same time. The underlying causes can vary. Most of the time, the cause is a herniated disc that presses against the nerve, causing the pain. Even though this happens in the lower back, an individual might only feel pain in the buttocks and the back of the leg. Other causes of sciatic nerve pain include:

  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Muscle inflammation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolysis

Making Sciatica Flare-ups Worse

What makes sciatica worse depends on the underlying cause. For most, this is a herniated or bulging disc that presses against the nerve. Any increased pressure on the discs can worsen the symptoms in this type of case. Sitting down puts more pressure on the spinal discs, worsening the pain. Lying down can also worsen symptoms. When the pain is peaking, lying down for a little while can help, but too long can worsen symptoms. Standing with a neutral spine and walking around a bit can help with nerve pain relief and healing.

Improper/Poor Posture

Poor posture, especially the rounding of the lower back. This usually happens when sitting. The rounded low back becomes a bad habit that individuals think will help with the pain. This can cause a flare-up. The spine has a natural S-curve; the more an individual can maintain that natural curve, the better off they will be.

Weight Gain

Too much weight can cause flare-ups with added stress/pressure on the spine, especially the low back. Maintaining a healthy weight will help relieve the added pressure; however, many who experience sciatica have trouble exercising. This is where a physical therapist and chiropractor can assist an individual with customized exercise and diet programs to overcome this obstacle. Eating is a way that individuals deal with pain, anxiety, and depression. But weight gain and poor health can worsen sciatica. Overweight individuals experience more inflammation throughout the body, making sciatica even worse.

Stretching

Not stretching, especially as the body ages, tightens the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. And stretching improperly can injure these areas. There are recommended and non-recommended stretches for individuals dealing with/managing sciatica. Stretches that require bending the low back can place added pressure on the lumbar spine, causing sciatica flare-ups.

Lifting Heavy Things

Lifting and improperly lifting heavy objects can worsen sciatica. This has to do with the rounding of the low back. Any time the spine is taken out of its natural S-curve, there is undue pressure on the joints and discs. When lifting heavy objects in this position, the problem is worsened. When possible, avoid lifting anything heavy while dealing with sciatica. It’s healthy to stay active, but there is no need to do intense workouts at home or the gym, especially heavy lifting.

Tight Pants

Tight pants can contribute to sciatica. Wear overly tight and form-fitting pants should be avoided in shorts, jeans, or skirts until the sciatica is gone. And even after, it is not recommended to wear overly tight-fitting clothing, as this can cause blood and nerve circulation problems.

Shoes

Like tight pants, the wrong shoes without adequate support can cause flare-ups. For example, high heels distribute weight to the front of the feet. For the body to compensate, pushing the pelvis and hips forward is normal. When the body is in this position for a long time, it starts to place stress on the hamstrings, which will exacerbate sciatica. Shoes without adequate support place added stress on the feet, which gets transferred up the leg to the hamstrings. Customized shoe inserts designed especially for individuals with sciatica can help prevent symptoms.

Improvement

Sciatica takes time to heal. Avoiding making it worse and taking all the steps to help it healΒ can bring the body back to normal within 2 weeks. For most, it takes around 4 weeks for the pain to go away. This depends on various factors. For example, if sciatica develops during pregnancy, it could take longer to get rid of the pain. One sign that shows improvement is called centralization, meaning the pain is moving out of the leg and into the spine. This is a good sign that the individual is on the right track.


Body Composition


Meal Planning

The convenience of food delivery is wonderful, but remember that frequently eating food prepared away from home increases the risk of weight gain and obesity. Restaurants tend to serve oversized portions and prepare meals with excessive calories, sodium, and sugar. The benefit of eating from home is that individuals have more control over the ingredients and cooking methods used to prepare the food. It helps plan meals and snacks to ensure they are balanced. Here are the types of foods that should be included in a balanced meal plan:

  • A variety of whole fruits
  • Non-starchy vegetables – leafy greens, red and orange veggies
  • Starchy vegetables – potatoes, green peas, legumes, winter squash
  • Grains, with the goal to make at least Β½ from whole-grain sources
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Protein from various sources – lean meats, seafood, eggs, nuts & seeds, and soy products
  • Healthy cooking oils – olive oil or canola oil
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Fresh or frozen fruits
  • Dried herbs and spices
References

Sciatica. MedlinePlus. medlineplus.gov/sciatica.html. Accessed November 29, 2018.

Sciatica Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy. babyMed. www.babymed.com/pregnancy/sciatica-pain-during-pregnancy. Updated on August 29, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2018.

Shiel WC. Degenerative Disc Disease and Sciatica. MedicineNet. www.medicinenet.com/degenerative_disc/article.htm#what_are_the_symptoms_of_radiculopathy_and_sciatica. Last reviewed August 10, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2018.

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Sciatica Flare-Ups: Causes and Chiropractic Care" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Recent Posts

Swayback Posture: Identifying and Treating the Issue

Can chiropractic treatment alleviate pain and correct swayback posture, a postural deformity that can cause… Read More

June 14, 2024

Heat Exhaustion vs. Stroke: Effects on the Musculoskeletal System Explained

Do individuals with muscle pain know the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion and… Read More

June 14, 2024

A Guide to Low-Sugar Fruits

Can fruit help with a sweet craving for individuals trying to limit sugar? Fruits Low… Read More

June 13, 2024

The Benefits of Cycling for Osteoarthritis: A Comprehensive Guide

Can individuals with osteoarthritis can incorporate cycling to reduce joint pain and regain their joint… Read More

June 13, 2024

Achieve Your Fitness Goals Faster with Sprint Exercise Training

For individuals who don't have time for a full workout, could incorporating sprint exercise training… Read More

June 12, 2024

Exploring the Clinical Approach and the Importance of Nursing

How do healthcare professionals provide a clinical approach in the role of nursing to reducing… Read More

June 12, 2024