It can be difficult to deal with sciatica while at a sedentary job, even if you perform sciatica stretches and exercises whenever possible. When it comes to spending long hours at your desk, it might seem as though there is nothing you can do. However, there are a few simple changes you can make to the way you sit that may bring relief from the discomfort.
Align your posture
Your spine should be aligned with your head and hips whenever you are seated. Some may find that leaning back slightly relieves their pain, while others should sit upright. However, always keep your back in a straight line from your neck to your pelvis. Avoid slouching at any point, as this can place pressure on your spine.
Engage your core
If your core muscles are working, this can relieve some of the pressure on your spine. It can be difficult to do this if you have weak core muscles, and you should not strain too much and hurt yourself. However, exercising to develop your core can help you sit upright at your desk.
Use lumbar support
Some people may find lumbar support to be vital in sciatica pain relief. If you do not have an ergonomic chair with lumbar support, consider requesting one or investing in one. Otherwise, you can purchase a lumbar support cushion, or even use a rolled-up towel.
Plant feet on floor
Generally, it is best to sit with your feet planted firmly on the floor. This can provide additional support for your entire body by taking some of your weight. You can also ensure your feet are squared with your knees and hips, meaning there is less strain on your sciatic nerves.
Pay attention to knees and legs
The way your knees are positioned can make a big difference to your comfort level. However, many different positions can work. Some people find it best to sit with their knees at a 90-degree angle. Others find having the knees lower than the hips is better, while some prefer to elevate their knees.
Similarly, some people may find crossing their legs brings relief, while others find it exacerbates the pain. Pay attention to your level of comfort with different leg positions and find the one that works best.
Pivot your chair
If possible, use a chair that rotates. This allows you to pivot the entire chair anytime you need to move around or reach for something at an angle. Otherwise, you will have to twist your spine and lower back muscles, increasing the strain on your sciatic nerve.
Position your workstation correctly
If your computer is positioned incorrectly, you may have to slump to see the screen. Reaching forward to access your keyboard, mouse or writing implements can also strain your back and aggravate sciatica.
Position your computer screen, so it is level with your eyes, and you do not have to move your head to see it. Move any items you frequently use within a comfortable distance.
Try different positions
Not everyone will respond in the same way to certain sitting positions. There are many different causes of sciatica, and even two people with the same condition may have different experiences.
Try a few different positions. Move your knees above or below your hips, try elevating your feet, or try leaning back in your chair. Let your body tell you what is most comfortable.
For most people, one of the best practices for sitting with sciatica is not to sit for too long. If possible, take short breaks to relieve the pressure on your back and legs. You can use these breaks to perform sciatica exercises and stretches.
While taking this time out may seem like you are unproductive, you may enable yourself to work better by reducing your sciatic pain.
If you are seeking relief from sciatica, please contact Michigan Chiropractic Specialists for an evaluation.