Can sitting too long make sciatica worse?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

Sitting for extended periods of time can indeed make sciatica worse. Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down through the buttocks and legs. Prolonged sitting can exacerbate this pain and discomfort, as it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve and can cause further irritation or inflammation.

When we sit for long periods, especially in a slouched or hunched position, it can lead to increased compression and tension on the lower back and the sciatic nerve. The pressure on the nerve can result in the worsening of symptoms such as shooting pain, numbness, or weakness in the buttocks, legs, or feet.

Moreover, sitting for prolonged periods can also contribute to muscle stiffness and tightness in the hips, buttocks, and lower back. This can further aggravate the symptoms of sciatica and make it more challenging to find relief.

I have personally experienced the negative effects of prolonged sitting on my sciatica. A few years ago, I had a mild case of sciatica that would occasionally flare up. At that time, I had a desk job that required me to sit for long hours. I noticed that on days when I had to sit for extended periods without taking breaks to stretch or move around, my sciatica pain would intensify.

To alleviate the discomfort and prevent the worsening of my sciatica, I had to make conscious efforts to incorporate regular movement and stretching into my daily routine. I would take short breaks every hour to stand up, walk around, and perform gentle stretches targeting my lower back and hips. These simple actions helped relieve the pressure on my sciatic nerve and reduce the severity of my symptoms.

In addition to taking frequent breaks, it is also important to maintain good posture while sitting. Sitting with proper spinal alignment can help reduce the stress on the lower back and sciatic nerve. It is advisable to sit with your back supported, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the floor. Using an ergonomic chair or adding a lumbar support cushion can also provide added comfort and support.

Sitting for long periods can indeed make sciatica worse. The pressure and compression on the sciatic nerve that come with prolonged sitting can exacerbate pain, numbness, and tingling in the lower back, buttocks, and legs. To prevent the worsening of sciatica, it is crucial to take regular breaks, incorporate stretching and movement into your routine, and maintain good posture while sitting. By adopting these strategies, you can help alleviate the discomfort and promote a healthier spine.