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Can Working From Home Trigger Sciatica Pain?

Can Working From Home Trigger Sciatica Pain?

The pain of sciatica shows up in different ways. It usually affects just one leg and starts in your lower back or buttock. Sciatic nerve pain may stay isolated in the thigh and butt or travel down the leg — even affecting the foot, where the nerve terminates. 

Some people describe the pain as burning, stabbing, or electrical. For others, it may be dull and aching. The discomfort can be constant, or it can come and go. 

No matter how you describe it, sciatica is annoying, bothersome, and, often, chronic. It’s caused by pressure placed against the largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve. Inflammation, irritation, pinching, or compression can cause this pressure.

Sciatica is a symptom, and to treat it, you want to tackle the cause. Being sedentary is a major cause of this affliction that affects about 40% of Americans at some point in their life. Sitting at home at a desk all day could certainly contribute to the pain.

At Interventional Spine and Pain Institute in Vero Beach, Florida, pain management specialist Dr. Michael Esposito sees many patients with sciatica and offers these tips as to how to relieve pain and prevent it from recurring.

Causes of sciatica pain

Sciatica can result from a number of conditions, including:

So what causes these medical diagnoses to happen? You may develop sciatica because of specific risk factors and lifestyle choices, including having a prior injury, aging, being overweight, poor core strength, lack of good posture when working out, smoking, or having a condition like osteoarthritis or diabetes. 

If you’re mainly sedentary and sit at a desk for hours a day — especially one at home — developing sciatica is a very real possibility.

Poor posture contributes to the development of sciatica, and your home office chair may not have the best support. Even if you choose the most ergonomically designed chair, sitting for long periods puts pressure on certain areas of your body that can irritate your sciatic nerve. 

Sciatica prevention

Many causes of sciatica are preventable. If you play sports or exercise, use proper form. Always lift heavy objects (whether it’s furniture or a barbell) with your legs, not your back.

When you sit for long periods, use the best posture you can to help reduce pressure on your spine. Get up and move regularly every hour (or more often). Set a timer to remind you to stand up and walk around for 5-10 minutes and to change position. 

Try these ideas to add movement to a mainly sedentary at-home day job:

Set up your work area at home so you have to move to do tasks. For example, put your printer across the room or in another part of the house entirely so you have to walk to access it. 

If you have sciatica and simple measures such as ice and heat therapy and over-the-counter pain medications don’t help you find relief, call Dr. Esposito or use this website to book an appointment. We can investigate and address the health issue causing the problem as well as guide you in making at-home changes to get relief.

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