Three tips to help you prevent sciatica flare-ups while driving
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated. Your sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and then travels down each leg. If you experience sciatica, you’re not alone: Up to 40% of people may experience sciatica in their lives. This leads many people to wonder how to prevent sciatica while driving. Sitting in a car for an extended period of time can cause your sciatica to flare up.
Here are three tips to prevent sciatica while driving. In addition to these, seeing a physical therapist can be a great way to tackle sciatic nerve pain to help you enjoy getting in the car again.
What is sciatica and why does driving irritate it?
Sciatica is not actually a condition itself. It is a symptom that is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can be caused by a herniated disc or other problems affecting the spine. This can also cause numbness and inflammation. One sign of sciatica is that it usually only affects one side of the buttocks and legs.
Driving puts the body in a rigid posture that can irritate the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica. Here are three tips that can help prevent sciatica flare-ups while driving:
- Stretching — Try stretching before and after a car ride to decompress the spine. If you have a long car drive, take breaks to get out and stretch. One easy stretch to perform is leaning forward to touch your toes. It’s OK if you can’t reach all the way down! Just by bending forward you open up the space between your vertebrae, which can help decompress the spine and reduce irritation of the sciatic nerve.
- Lumbar support — Some cars will come with lumbar support adjustments built into the seat. Try adjusting these settings until you are comfortable but not totally sunken into your seat. You want your spine to be somewhat straight while driving so that you don’t put any additional stress on it that can contribute to sciatica.
- Driving posture — In addition to lumbar support, you also want to be mindful of your driving posture. Don’t lean or hunch forward while driving. Also, you should be upright and your knees should also be parallel to your bottom. This ensures the most neutral driving position to help reduce sciatic nerve pain.
Need to seek additional treatment to prevent sciatica while driving? Franklin Rehab can help you get back on the road with confidence
Nobody wants to dread getting into their car for a drive. That’s where we come in. Our team at Franklin Rehabilitation has years of experience in treating painful back problems like sciatica. We are prepared to build you a personalized treatment plan that can help prevent sciatica while driving.
Contact our team today for more information about sciatica relief or to schedule an initial appointment.