Prevention of sciatica pain
Sciatica prevention can be difficult because one of the primary causes is the age-related degeneration of the lumbar (lower) spine. The sciatic nerve, which begins toward the bottom of the spinal cord and travels down both legs, is the longest nerve in the body. If part of the lumbar spinal anatomy breaks down because of injury, disc degeneration or osteoarthritis, the sciatic nerve becomes vulnerable to compression. This can send shooting pain down the legs to the feet or cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the lower extremities.
Exercise and lifestyle changes for sciatica prevention
While the natural aging process makes preventing sciatica difficult, staying in shape can help the body cope with — or even avoid — symptoms that might otherwise become debilitating. Muscular strength is important for the stability of the lower back and cardiovascular health is required for optimum fitness. Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise program, which might include one or more of the following:
- Easy running or jogging
- Weight training
Body mass, lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol consumption can also have an impact on the processes that can lead to sciatica. Making decisions to reduce these risk factors can offer the best chance of preventing sciatica symptoms.
When sciatica symptoms become overwhelming
As stated above, sciatica prevention is not always possible. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing spinal conditions such as a herniated disc, bone spurs or spinal stenosis which can produce sciatic nerve compression. While conservative treatments such as pain medication and physical therapy often are enough to manage sciatica symptoms, surgery can become an option when chronic pain begins to significantly impact your life and conservative options are exhausted.
Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive spine procedures offers a shorter recovery time^ and less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back procedures. We offer a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.