Unless you have a considerable inheritance to rely on, chances are working is a big part of your life, and for most of us, this means sitting at our desks all day. Now, long workdays are bad enough already, but when you also have a sciatica flare-up, they become almost unbearable. You can even find chairs with seat cushion for office chair specially designed for standing desks so you can alternate more easily.
What is sciatica? If you’re reading this article, you probably already know, but for the sake of clarity, sciatica is a specific type of pain that occurs when something pinches or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve that extends from the lower back through the hips and buttocks, down each leg, all the way to the feet.
It’s important to note that sciatica is a symptom and not a condition in itself, the most common cause of sciatica being a herniated disc. The pain can vary widely from tingling, numbness, and mild aches to intense pain that can feel like an electric shock.
So what can you do to get through the day when the mere act of sitting becomes torture? Let’s find out what the experts have to say.
Switch to a Standing Desk
If you sprain your ankle, your doctor will advise you to rest and keep your leg propped up. In contrast, sciatica pain gets worse if you lie down or sit. But what can you do if you’re expected to sit in front of your desk for 8 hours a day?
You can switch to a standing desk, of course. Sitting increases the pressure on your spinal discs by 40%, which can aggravate an already compressed sciatic nerve and lead to a flare-up.
Granted, when you’re in pain from a sciatica flare-up, the last thing you want to do is stand or move around, but it is one of the most effective ways to relieve your symptoms. Moreover, a standing desk can also reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as help you burn more calories.
It’s important to note that although standing can be beneficial, you don’t want to overdo it. It’s best to switch between standing and sitting every 20 or 30 minutes until you build up resistance.
Find the Right Chair
One of the most important things you can do to reduce sciatica pain is to make sure you have the right chair. Finding the best ergonomic chair for sciatica might take a little bit of research, but it’s well worth it. Most office furniture looks beautiful but isn’t much help when it comes to lower back pain.
A proper ergonomic chair can help you maintain the correct posture and reduce pressure on your back. You can even find chairs specially designed for standing desks so you can alternate more easily. If you’re having trouble convincing your managers to change the office furniture, you can use a sciatica seat cushion. These pillows are also beneficial because they are designed to help you maintain proper posture and reduce some of the pressure on your back.
A standing desk can help, but you’ll still need to get some exercise if you want to minimize your sciatica pain. Even light exercise, like stretching and walking, has been shown to improve symptoms. Furthermore, taking regular breaks will help you concentrate better and increase your productivity, so you don’t have to feel guilty for not staying glued to your desk all day.
Every hour, you should take a few minutes break and walk around the office. In between these sessions, you can do some light stretching exercises right at your desk.
You should also find ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car a little bit further so you can have a short walk.