Sciatica

Sciatica Flare-Ups: Causes and Chiropractic Care

Share
Sciatica is a very common and painful issue. Keeping it in check can be difficult especially with various causes that can generate flare-ups. Individuals managing sciatica need to 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. There is one sciatic nerve on each side of the body, and either can become irritated, injured, and inflamed. However, it’s rare that both are 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. With this type of case, any increase in pressure on the discs can worsen the symptoms. Sitting down in fact 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 for too long can worsen symptoms. Standing with a neutral spine, and walking around a bit, can help with nerve pain relief and the healing process.

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 and 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. Individuals that are overweight tend to experience more inflammation throughout the body, making sciatica even worse.

Stretching

Not stretching, especially as the body gets older tightens the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. And stretching improperly can injure these areas. There are recommended and non-recommended stretches for individuals dealing/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. Whether shorts, jeans, or skirts, wearing overly-tight, form-fitting pants should be avoided 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 force weight distribution to the front of the feet. For the body to compensate, it’s normal to push the pelvis and hips forward. 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 in preventing symptoms.

Improvement

Sciatica takes time to heal. Avoiding making it worse and taking all the steps to help it heal, 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 to plan meals and snacks in advance to make sure 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 ½ 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

Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to 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 or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
References
Sciatica. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/sciatica.html. Accessed November 29, 2018. Sciatica Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy. babyMed. https://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. https://www.medicinenet.com/degenerative_disc/article.htm#what_are_the_symptoms_of_radiculopathy_and_sciatica. Last reviewed August 10, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2018.
Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven Integrative Wellness therapies focused on optimal mobility, posture control, health Instruction, functional fitness, Nutrition, and structural conditioning. In addition, we use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans," Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSHasRx Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor, passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. So join us and make a living with mobility a way of life. Blessings.

Published by

Recent Posts

Fever and Back Pain

It is one thing to wake up with back pain, but another when the pain… Read More

December 7, 2021

Discussing The Benefits Of Micronutrients With Dr. Ruja | El Paso, TX (2021)

https://youtu.be/tIwGz-A-HO4 Introduction In today's podcast, Dr. Alex Jimenez and Dr. Mario Ruja discuss the importance… Read More

December 7, 2021

How Chiropractic Affects Inflammation

Inflammation is the body's response to infection, injury, or irritation. It causes swelling, redness, pain… Read More

December 6, 2021

Discussing Sport Nutrition With Taylor Lyle | El Paso, TX (2021)

https://youtu.be/L9yXI6Nq-oE Introduction In today's podcast, Dr. Alex Jimenez, Health Coach Kenna Vaughn, and Sports Dietitian… Read More

December 6, 2021

Getting Fit and Staying Active

Many individuals are trying to get fit and stay active through physical activity and exercise.… Read More

December 3, 2021

Getting Started Eating Healthy

A typical diet consists of consuming three meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between.… Read More

December 2, 2021
Online History & Registration 🔘
Call us Today 🔘