Sciatica is common and can cause lower back pain that sometimes creeps down into the legs. Instead of living with sciatica pain, you may want to try out a standing desk. This article will cover the ways that using a standing desk can help with sciatica pain.
Also, check out this video to learn more about the ways that sitting can cause sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is not the same as other types of back pain. Instead, sciatica pain begins with the two largest nerves in the human body which are called sciatic nerves. The nerves are located in the lower lumbar spine, through the buttocks, and all the way to the soles of the feet.
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When a root of the sciatic nerves, or even the nerve fibers, gets irritated or pinched, then sciatic pain will radiate along the area. The pain associated with sciatica varies from dull to tingling or even stabbing pains.
Sitting and Sciatica
Sitting can make sciatica worse, but why and how is that? Sitting will put pressure and tension on the sciatic nerves and the surrounding muscle. This can cause excessive strain and inflammation which leads to worsened pain. When we sit, we can increase the tension on the spinal discs as much as 40 percent!
This can also cause a person to sit awkwardly because of the pain. Sciatica makes it hard to find a comfortable sitting position and then the awkward sitting can lead to even more aches and pains. Since a lot of us sit for hours every day, we develop sciatica and standing desks may be the solution we have all been looking for.
Also, when we sit we tend to have bad posture at least part of the time. Cross legs or non-ergonomic sitting positions can lead to sciatica. So can having things in the back pockets or sitting too far or too close to your desk.
Standing for Sciatica Relief
Since sitting puts tension and pressure on the sciatic nerves which leads to more pain, standing can relieve that pain. When we stand, especially when we stand with good posture, we can take the stressors off of the lower back and buttocks. This can reduce the pain felt with sciatica.
However, standing too much also comes with its own problems. This is why it is best to change between sitting and standing regularly. This is the best way to relieve sciatica. A flare up of sciatica may mean that you should alternate as much as every 15 minutes between sitting and standing. It is also best not to switch from constant sitting to too much standing immediately. Instead, gradually work your way up to standing half as much or an equal amount that you are sitting.
Movement for Sciatica
In addition, standing desks make movement more likely. When we sit, we may shift around, but our mobility is extremely limited. A standing desk allows a user to walk short distances throughout the day. In addition, it makes it easier to move around and do simple exercises.
Walking 10 to 15 minutes a day can strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. This can help with sciatica because weak core muscles contribute to the pain. In addition, as we walk our mobility and strength in the muscles around the sciatic nerves will be increased.
Our hips have a large range of motion that is not used while we sit at a desk all day. This is also impacted by the fact that many people sit all day at work just to go home and sit while eating and watching television. This amount of sitting will compress the ligaments and muscle around the hips, back, and buttocks.
When we stand and move around, the flexibility and strength of the hip muscles will also increase. This will improve the mobility and take pressure and tension off of the sciatic nerves.
A lot of people are afraid that moving around will also increase their pain. However, this is far from the truth because the movement will actually help to relieve the pain as long as it is low-impact activity.
Final Thoughts on Standing Desks and Sciatica
Sciatica can flare up when we sit for hours at a time, especially when that amount of sitting is common for 5 days or more every week. Instead, we should try to stand and move more. A standing desk can offer the opportunity to stand and relieve the tension in the sciatic nerves. In addition, it also allows us to move around regularly throughout the workday. This can all help to reduce pain from sciatica.