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Physical Therapy: Q & A

Question:
In the past, I’ve had sharp pains and tingling in my legs and was told I had sciatica. Is there anything I can do to avoid a recurrence of my symptoms?

Answer:
Sciatica refers to the pain or discomfort associated with compression on the sciatic nerve root. Preventing a recurrence is often dependent on the origin. However, there are proactive steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of future related problems:

  • Sleep on a firm, supportive mattress to keep your back and neck in a neutral position.
  • Maintain proper posture to avoid back strain.
  • Perform appropriate stretching exercises with proper body mechanics.
  • Maintain a healthy weight with routine cardiovascular exercise and a comprehensive strength training program.
  • Consult a physical therapist for a postural assessment and a comprehensive exercise program specific to your needs.
  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed as it can place excess pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Avoid sitting for extended periods (at work, on trips, etc.); Break frequently, walk, change positions.
  • Wear appropriate supportive footwear; Avoid high heals.
  • Whenever lifting, keep your back straight and lift with your legs.
  • Sit with both feet flat on the floor; Use a lumbar roll or rolled up towel placed near your low back.
  • Cigarette smoking can predispose the body to pain and should be avoided.
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Written by Brooks Juneau

June 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm

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