Sitting in an uncomfortable office chair can cause all sorts of problems, like sore muscles, weakness, and pressure on the hips, tailbone, spinal cord, and lower back. Even if you don’t have any problems with sciatica or nerve damage, sitting in an uncomfortable chair can cause lots of pain. You can imagine how much worse it would be with sciatica.
If you have sciatica, you need to make sure that your chairs are as comfortable as possible, providing relief to your sciatica pain even when you have to sit for hours on end. Traditional office chairs don’t provide this support, and the ones that do are incredibly expensive.
The best way to increase your existing office chair’s comfort level and support is to purchase a seat cushion. Seat cushions are extremely affordable (especially when compared to pricey ergonomic office chairs), and they last a long time with proper care.
What is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down to the knees. When it’s damaged, it can cause pain throughout the entire lower body. Sciatica refers only to pain that comes from a damaged sciatic nerve. You may have tailbone or low back pain without it being sciatica.
Having sciatica means you need to pay special attention to where you sit and how you sit. You should practice good posture and ensure that you’re sitting on surfaces that are comfortable and supportive.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched. The most common causes of sciatica are a herniated disc or a bone spur on your vertebrae. Sometimes it may occur because of a tumor, but this is not common.
There are some risk factors associated with sciatic nerve pain, including:
Age: As the spine changes with age, herniated disks and bone spurs become more and more common.
Obesity: People who are overweight have more weight pressing down on the spine, causing increased pressure. This excess body weight can cause spinal changes that can trigger sciatica.
Occupation: If you commonly twist your back, lift heavy objects, or drive a motor vehicle for a long period of time, you may be more likely to develop sciatica.
Prolonged sitting: People who sit for extended periods of time are more likely to develop sciatica than people who are more active.
Diabetes: Diabetes is known for increasing one’s risk of nerve damage.
Symptoms of Sciatica
If you think you may be experiencing sciatica, you should always speak to your doctor. Sciatica may develop, causing more pain the longer you have it as your nerve damage gets worse, so it’s a good idea to catch it early if possible. Sometimes sciatica will go away on its own, but that’s not always the case.
Symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain along the sciatic nerve. Pain is known to feel like it’s radiating, burning, or even electric.
- You may also experience numbness in your right or left leg.
It’s common to only experience symptoms on one side of your body. Sciatica pain is different for everyone, so it may be hard to recognize at first. If you’re experiencing pain throughout the sciatic nerve that doesn’t go away within a few days, you may want to speak with your doctor.
Treatment Options for Sciatica
There are many different treatment options for sciatica. If you’re looking for natural remedies, over-the-counter remedies, or remedies from a doctor, we’ve got you covered. If you start with natural and over-the-counter remedies and nothing works, make sure to follow up with a doctor. Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter options in the beginning if your sciatica isn’t severe.
Stretching, Yoga, and Massage
One of the first things you should try to help relieve sciatica pain is stretching. Stretch out your hips, knees, and lower back by performing low-intensity yoga or doing some stretching every day (try the reclining pigeon pose). You can also go to a masseuse for a massage.
While these options won’t cure your sciatica, they can make it easier to deal with.
Hot and Cold Treatment
Hot and cold treatment is one of the best ways to treat muscle soreness and nerve damage. An at-home treatment option is to wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it on the pain site.
Alternate back and forth between temperatures, using each for about 10 to 20 minutes. Take a break of at least an hour in between hot and cold cycles.
Over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), other NSAIDs like Aspirin, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), and Naproxen are all great options for treating sciatica. Again, they won’t make it go away permanently, but they may be able to help reduce any pain you’re experiencing for a short period of time. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.
Prescriptions and Epidurals
If your sciatica is severe enough, your doctor may prescribe heavier pain relievers, prescription medications, or suggest that you get an epidural for immediate pain relief. Other treatments are corticosteroid injections, steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxers. They may do an x-ray or MRI for further diagnostic clues. Some classes of antidepressants can also treat sciatica.
Go to a Physical Therapist
Going to a physical therapist may also help relieve pain. If you attend weekly or bi-weekly sessions, they can help you learn how to control the pain that you’re experiencing. A physical therapist will teach you stretches and encourage you to do them every night before you go to sleep or every morning when you wake up (or both).
In some rare cases, sciatica may require surgical treatment. When sciatica lasts more than six weeks despite treatment, you may be referred to a specialist who can perform surgery to fix the problem. For example, if a herniated disc is causing your sciatica, you may need to have the herniated disc operated on in order to relieve pain.
How a Seat Cushion Can Relieve Sciatica Pain
In the meantime, if you’re trying to reduce the pain that you’re experiencing, you should invest in an affordable seat cushion. Our memory foam and gel infusion cushions provide support that’s contoured to your body while keeping you cool at the same time.
A seat cushion can make office chairs, benches, bleachers, and dining room chairs more comfortable, allowing you to sit down without experiencing too much pain.
Slideshow How to Ease Sciatic Nerve Pain | Web MD
Sciatica - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
What You Need to Know About Sciatica | Spine Health