It shouldn’t be any surprise that the sciatic nerve, the longest and widest single nerve in the human body, can be the source of radiating low back pain. What may be a bit surprising, however, is the list of what may trigger discomfort originating from this nerve that runs from your lower back through your hips and down each leg.
Stuff in Your Back Pocket
Wallets, cellphones, combs, and anything else you may stick in your back pocket out of habit can place added pressure on your pelvis and lower back; and, by extension, your sciatic nerve. Los Angeles spine surgeons suggest minimizing the risk by taking bulky things out of your pocket before sitting down or moving some stuff to other pockets.
High Heels and Uncomfortable Shoes
While it may not seem like a logical connection to your back, improper foot support can throw off your spine’s alignment and place added stress on your sciatic nerve. The same is true of heels more than 2 inches in height since the extra height often results in arching backwards to compensate. Instead, wear heels on a temporary basis and have a pair of comfy shoes on hand.
Excessive Body Weight
Being overweight can place added strain on the muscles and joints that support your spine, which may lead to sciatic nerve compression. Making an effort to exercise on a regular basis or lose some weight often resolves the issue. Pain can be felt anywhere along the sciatic nerve at any given time. Discomfort experienced can vary greatly from mild to intense or intermittent to constant, with related sciatica symptoms including:
- Pain felt on one side of the lower body
- Discomfort starting in the back and continuing down one leg
- Pain that goes away when lying down and worsens when standing or sitting
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling sensations
Commonly resulting from a herniated disc or a narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) that causes nerve compression, sciatica often responds well to non-surgical back treatments. If self-care efforts such as getting some rest, modifying activities, or using a heating pad fail to provide relief, see what your doctor has to say.
If leg pain and numbness are affecting your quality of life, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae in Los Angeles at The Spine Institute. Dr. Bae and his team of spine surgeons can determine the source of your pain and provide you with possible treatments options that align with your lifestyle. Please call (310) 828-7757 today and schedule an in-person consultation.