A herniated disc is very common in people aged 35-55. In fact, one of the most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disc. This comes as a shock to most people. However, there are things you can do to prevent sciatica from a herniated disc.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica (lumbar radiculopathy) is a combination of symptoms, such as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. The symptoms of this condition radiate down the leg along the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from your lower back to your feet. Then, the nerve roots in the lower back may become compressed. When irritated, the nerve sends pain into your legs. Other neurological symptoms can occur too.
Guidelines to Prevent Sciatica from a Herniated Disc
Daily activities like lifting, twisting, bending, and prolonged sitting are problematic. They can cause a herniation. By changing your routines, however, you can prevent further problems. Additionally, you can also prevent recurrent irritation to the sciatic nerve.
Protect your discs.
Sitting or bending for a long time increases load. The discs in your back can only take so much. These activities increase this load by 40%. The more stressed they are, the greater the risk for herniation. Therefore, avoid lifting heavy items after sitting or bending. For example, after a long flight, don’t pick up heavy luggage. Instead, stand up straight for a few minutes first. This allows your discs time to recover and reshape.
Maintain a safe lumbar arch.
Bending over is an activity that can cause disc herniation. Bending also occurs in normal daily activities, such as doing chores, lifting, sitting at work. You bend a lot every day. If you maintain a lumbar arch doing these actions, however, you can help avoid a problem. This will reduce the stress placed on your back and discs. To maintain a safe lumbar arch:
- Bend at the knees when lifting
- Pivot at your hips when leaning forward
- If you have to stand, place one foot on a footstool
- Sit with your shoulders rolled back
- Avoid slouching when you walk, bend, or sit
These actions will maintain proper spine alignment. Therefore, you can reduce the risk of a slipped disc.
Use assistive aids.
Stress can be reduced when you use devices to assist movement. Buy luggage with wheels to pull instead of lifting. Use grocery carts instead of baskets. When sleeping, use an extra pillow. Back sleepers, put the pillow between your knees, and side sleepers, place one between your legs. These aids can protect your spine and sciatic nerve. Therefore, the roots will not get irritated by lumbar discs.
Back extension exercises.
These exercises move your spine backward. The McKenzie technique is known to be the most helpful. Plus, it is also known to reduce back pain. Back extension exercises centralize sciatic pain. In this way, you can treat and heal disc herniation. Make sure you learn these from a trained physical therapist, though. The right form and technique will prevent complications. Avoid exercises that twist or bend the body forward.
Having sciatica as a result of a slipped disc is painful. If a herniated disc is causing you sciatic pain, you need to take action. Symptoms not relieved by self-care need medical attention. Therefore, visit your doctor for a diagnostic check-up and treatment. Severe herniation can cause medical emergencies. So, you need to get it treated immediately and learn how to prevent sciatica from a herniated disc.