Are you experiencing a pinching pain in your bottom? If that pain feels like radiating from the pinpoint of the pain to the back of the thigh, maybe that’s sciatica. And you’re here to know how to sit comfortably with sciatica.
In sciatica, sitting is so painful. An ergonomic posture will make you feel better. Keep your spine in “S” shape which is normal. And don’t sit for a long time continuously in the chair.
Having severe pain, sciatica should be taken seriously. There is a lot more about sciatica. And sitting is a vital factor for sciatica. In this article, we’ll know about how to sit in the right position with sciatica.
Sciatica and its causes
The term sciatica is not a disease, it’s a symptom of other underlying diseases. The sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in our body, supplies the area from the tailbone to the thigh and knee. Sciatica is the painful irritation of this nerve.
Sciatica is characterized by unbearable pain with a pinching feeling. When the pain starts, you don’t find relief in any position. Sitting with sciatica is more painful.
If you want only the cause of sciatica, that would be compression of the sciatic nerve. How is this nerve compressed?
Let’s take a look at the causes of sciatica:
- Lumbar herniated disc
It’s the commonest problem that causes sciatica. It’s observed in 90% of people with sciatica. In our spine, the vertebrae are separated by articular discs. These may be bulged out for your sitting problem and some other causes.
As sciatic nerves originate from the lumbar region, these bulged-out discs can compress the nerve roots. Not only this, the hyaluronic acid secreted from the lumbar discs can cause this irritation too.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
It is observed in old aged people mainly. If the vertebral canal in the lumbar region becomes narrow, the spinal cord inside it will be compressed. As sciatic nerves originate from the spinal cord, this incident puts an impact on sciatic nerves too.
- Lumbar spine degeneration
The lumbar vertebrae, joints, and discs can go through degeneration too. This can cause displacement of the bones. And there may be unusual growth in the bones. This may put the sciatic nerve under pressure and cause inflammation.
- Piriformis syndrome
Piriformis syndrome is another common problem. There is a muscle in the buttocks which connects the hip bone with the femur, the bone of the thigh. The spasm of the piriformis muscle is known as piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis muscle man goes through spasms if your hip flexors are overused. This can cause tiredness of the muscles. As the sciatic nerve underlies in the piriformis muscle, piriformis syndrome is one of the causes of sciatica.
- Hip joint problems
The hip joint is supplied by some nerves. And if your hip joint is dislocated or somehow compresses the nerves, this refers to irritation to the sciatic nerve. Which ultimately turns into sciatica.
There are some other causes too. As I said before, sciatica is just a symptom of other diseases. This can happen because of spondylolisthesis which means a displacement of the vertebrae. Besides bone tumors, fluid accumulation, infection, etc. can cause sciatica too.
Differentiating sciatica from lower back pain
Sciatica can be mistaken for lower back pain. Though sciatica is a type of back pain, every type of back pain is not sciatica. Lower back pain may be caused by a lot of reasons. But sciatica is associated with the sciatic nerve only.
So, how do you separate sciatica from lower back pain? If you have back pain along with a pinching sensation in your buttocks, that may be sciatica. And these painful pinching feelings go down through your thigh. When you sit down with sciatica, you will feel extreme pinching pain in the back of your thigh.
Lower back pain usually doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to make the condition severe. But sciatica can be at its peak suddenly. You can feel the pinpoint pain without any preliminary problem. Moreover, it’s like radiating pain from a point all over the butt. But in other types of lower back pain, the pain may not be felt in the gluteus muscle and thigh.
Lower back pain doesn’t persist for a long time in most cases. It may be over within one or two months. But sciatica makes you suffer longer, even several months.
Why is sciatica painful when sitting?
The pain of sciatica is very annoying and miserable. When the pain starts, you can’t get rid of it in any position. And when sitting, the condition gets worse.
When you sit, you are putting pressure on your buttocks. The whole weight of your trunk will be put on the flexor muscle groups of the gluteal region. And you know, these muscles are supplied by the sciatic nerve. And also the sciatic nerve originates from the beneath of these muscles.
Now think about it. If the sciatic nerve gets pressure for a long time, isn’t there a chance of getting compressed? Yes. And if there is already inflammation in your sciatic nerve, you will feel more pain.
Sitting for a long time just increases the causes of sciatica. It can get your nerves compressed, dislocate the joints and vertebrae, and accumulate fluid in your hip and thigh region. And all of these are enough to make you feel pain.
Sitting principles for sciatica
If you want to get relief from sciatica pain, you have to try to get rid of it. This will lessen the severity of your condition. There are some exercises that you need to do regularly. But none of the measures will work if you don’t change some of your habits.
Some habits lead us to sciatica. So, besides other steps, these root causes of sciatica need to be disappeared. And you have to build some good habits to prevent and cure sciatica.
- Keep your back straight
This can be considered universal advice. And the practice of this advice will keep you away from a hundred types of problems literally.
Always try to keep your back straight and maintain a good posture. The spine needs to be in an “S” shape.
We often look bowing down to the desk or monitor. Sometimes we keep our upper back attached to the chair, but the lower back can’t get any support. That is too harmful to our spine. Compression of the sciatic nerve by dislocation of the articular disc or vertebra is not impossible. So, always sit straight.
- Don’t sit for a long time
In this modern age, all of us are used to sitting all the time. For studying, office work, or gaming, we put extra pressure on nerves by sitting all the time. As a result, this bad habit can make you suffer from sciatica.
In the buttocks, there are origins of sciatica nerves that go through the back of the thigh. When you sit down, the nerve gets pressure. If you put pressure on it for a long time, it will turn into irritation of the nerve.
So, make a habit of moving a little bit and taking a break. After every 25-30 minutes, stand up for some time or walk a little. This will enable the nerves to be as before.
- Be careful about your posture
Our body structure varies from person to person. So, all body postures are not perfect for everyone. Many people have a weak spine and related attachments and structures. They can’t do the same that people with strong backs and spines can do.
For example, you can’t sit in Indian style if you don’t have the flexibility. This kind of wrong practice of exercise and sitting posture can lead you to sciatica. So, assume the pose your body is easily capable of.
- Keep your legs in the right position
The position of the legs is very important. Always keep your feet flat down to the floor. Don’t hang your legs. It will result in the accumulation of fluid which is also a cause of sciatica.
Sometimes you need to raise your knees higher than your hip level while working at a desk. On the other hand, you have to keep your knees lower than the hip level while driving. So, leg positions can be different in the case of the scenario. Try to maintain this strictly.
- Getting up and sitting down is important too
Getting up and sitting down is also related to sitting. To cure and prevent sciatica, you mustn’t bow down your back during this process. Otherwise, it will put extra pressure on your back and spine, thus resulting in compression of nerves and sciatica.
While getting up from the chair, hold the handle of the chair if there is any. But always stand up keeping your back straight. Use the muscles of your hands and thighs and not the back for this procedure.
Sitting with sciatica in different conditions
There is no universal way of sitting with sciatica. Different types of work need different types of sitting styles. And all of these styles must be safe and comfortable for your body. So, let’s learn about those techniques according to work.
- While working or studying
Usually, we sit on a chair for working or studying at the desk. I’ve already mentioned the principles. I’m repeating some of those, especially while sitting in a chair.
You have to keep your back straight and attached to the back of the chair. If your back assumes a round posture and you can’t help it, you can use a rolled towel for supporting the lower back. But a lumbar support pillow will be better for maintaining the curves in the right shape. Along with this, a seat cushion will be a great investment, I assure you.
And keep your feet on the floor. You can use a stool or footrest if your feet don’t reach the ground. Don’t sit continuously. Take breaks at a regular interval.
- When relaxing
We usually use a recliner chair or a couch for relaxing. Recliners are very much effective to give your body complete relaxation. When you are using a recliner chair, recline the backrest and keep your back attached to the backrest.
Some people use a back support pillow for recliners too. But if you recline the backrest enough, I think, that won’t be necessary. And of course, use the footrest. But if you rest in the recliner for long, make some movements of your whole lower limbs.
For the couch, the principles are the same as before. Just make sure that your body weight is distributed equally on the couch.
- While driving
Driving for a lot of time is monotonous and bad for your back too. Hence taking breaks is necessary for a long drive. However, like other works, you have to support your whole back by making contact with the backrest.
You must keep your knee at or below the level of the hip. The right foot is used to press the gas pedal. When you do so, keep your left knee aligned to your pelvis. And for back and tailbone support, you can use a lumbar support pillow and cushion in the car seat too.
- During yoga and meditation
Usually, yoga and meditation need some physical fitness. If you have sciatica, you may have problems with your spine and nerve. That may increase your pain.
So, while doing yoga, if your spine needs to be bent or the nerve is put under pressure, avoid it. Do those kinds of poses that keep your back straight. You can also do some exercises in the chair while working. I’ll tell you about those later.
How should obese persons sit with sciatica?
Being overweight accelerates sciatica pain and its duration. In obese people, herniated disc displacement and sciatic nerve inflammation s more common. Because their weight puts a lot of pressure on the nerves.
Obese people must use seat cushions and back support pillows while sitting in chairs. They should avoid sitting on the floor. Regular exercise is a must for them to lose weight and get relief from sciatica. But make sure that those exercises don’t make the condition worse.
How to sit with sciatica in pregnancy?
Pregnancy adds extra weight to the body. So, it’s natural to face sciatica. Sciatica pregnancy happens mostly for sitting in a specific position for a long time.
In pregnancy sciatica, a reclined position may be helpful. Besides, change your position from time to time. When seated on the chair, you can do piriformis stretch exercise. Massaging the tender area may give relief.
Can you do exercise for sciatica while sitting?
We get so busy with our work that we don’t get enough time for exercise. But we need to do some movements while working. What if you can do some exercises while working at the desk?
Yes, you can do that. Let me tell you about an easy one. First, sit on a chair with an ergonomic posture. Then stretch your lower limb forward and bend the foot towards you as much as you can. Then put the foot forward. Do this ankle movement 20-25 times in both legs. This will help keep the sciatic nerve normal.
You can also do some other exercises like pigeon or cow in a chair, loosening your jaw, raising arms overhead, neck stretch, etc.
Lower back pain is very common in people nowadays. Sciatica, as one form of lower back pain, makes us suffer badly for a longer period. Sitting in sciatica is very stressful. So, you need to know how to sit comfortably with sciatica.
At present, most of us spend the day sitting in a chair. But you must move your body and take breaks while sitting. The importance of ergonomic posture is completely realized when sciatica pain hits like a pin. Make sure to do the measures mentioned in this article to keep your body motile.