Sciatica is a leading cause of chronic back and leg pain. Characterized by a sharp sensation radiating from the lower back, sciatica can make everyday activities uncomfortable. There are a few immediate steps you can take to make your sciatica more manageable. In addition to receiving physical therapy treatments, you can use at-home strategies to manage your pain and relieve other sciatica symptoms. One of the best ways to do this is sitting with proper posture. By using the best sitting position for sciatica, you can keep your body supported and alleviate discomfort without too much effort. Learning about the best sitting positions for sciatica can enable you to take your relief into your own hands.
The best sitting position for sciatica
Proper posture alone may not be enough to recover fully from sciatica. However, using the best sitting position can be a great way to address your sciatica alongside other treatments. The best sitting position for sciatica focuses on reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve. This can alleviate nerve pain and stiffness in your back. Sitting properly can also help maintain neutral spine alignment to prevent recurrence of painful symptoms. Here are the steps you can take to achieve the best sitting position for sciatica:
- Use supportive seating — The chair you sit in can have a huge impact on your back and leg health. Unsupportive seating can put strain on your back and reduce circulation throughout your body. This can make your sciatica worse. When you use a supportive ergonomic chair, you can feel the positive difference. Ergonomic chairs are designed to go with the natural curve of your spine. This can reduce the strain on your lower back. Does your chair lack adequate lumbar support? If you are not planning to use a different chair, consider using a small cushion or lumbar roll to keep your lower back supported.
- Sit back — When you sit down, make sure your entire back is supported by your chair’s backrest. Sitting on the edge of your chair can cause slumping, which can lead to back and neck pain over time. Sitting all the way back can keep your body supported and properly aligned. This can also help ensure that your weight is evenly distributed. By distributing your weight symmetrically, you can prevent uneven pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Take frequent breaks — Sitting for extended periods can exacerbate sciatica symptoms. This happens even in the best sitting positions. To maintain your back and leg health, try to take a short break every 30 minutes. This is especially important when you are studying or working at a desk for hours at a time. A break can be good for your mental health as well as your physical well-being. During this break you can stand up, walk around and perform gentle stretches. In addition to sitting in the best position, using targeted stretches can be great for alleviating sciatic pain.
Top physical therapy stretches for sciatica
Maintaining a proper sitting position can be one of the best management methods for sciatica. If you are looking for other effective at-home treatments, stretches can be a great option. Your physical therapist can help you develop a tailored stretching treatment plan that effectively targets the areas affected by your sciatica. While the specific exercises may differ from patient to patient, it can help to know some of the top PT stretches for sciatica.
- Child’s pose — To enter the child’s pose, start by kneeling on the floor. Your big toes should be touching and your knees should be spread apart. Sit back on your heels and extend your arms forward. Try to lower your chest toward the floor while you extend your arms. Once you have lowered into the pose, breathe deeply for 30 to 60 seconds. From here you can return to a sitting position. This stretch can relieve tension in the lower back and hip, making it great for alleviating sciatic pain.
- Knee-to-chest stretch — Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Next, cross your left ankle over your right knee. Grip your right thigh and pull your right knee toward your chest. You can alternate sides, holding the stretch for 30 seconds each time. This stretch can help address your sciatica by stretching the glutes and relieving lower back pressure.
- Seated spinal twist — The seated spinal twist is a great stretch for improving spinal mobility. To start, sit on the floor with your legs extended. Then bend one knee and place the foot of that leg on the opposite thigh. Twist your torso in the direction your knee is bending and hold for around 30 seconds. You can then repeat this exercise multiple times on each side.
Address your sciatica with specialized treatment from Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness
At Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness, our professional team is eager to help treat your sciatica. We can help guide you through the best sitting positions for sciatica and recommend stretches in addition to offering other pain relief techniques. Find lasting relief with the help of our top-notch physical therapy.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.