Sciatica is defined as a condition in which the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down to the foot becomes compressed, thus causing a range of symptoms ranging from general weakness to shooting pains or pins and needles.
Studies show that at least 40% of the population will experience sciatica at some stage in their life, with symptoms surfacing in the feet, back of the leg, and bottom. While bouts of sciatica usually repair themselves in around six weeks it can be a recurring issue. If you have begun to experience it, knowing how to stop sciatic nerve pain is a priority.
You may have seen various treatments suggested, but could walking for sciatic nerve pain be an effective weapon in your arsenal for the battle against sciatica? Here’s all you need to know.
Why choose walking for sciatic nerve pain?
The risk of sciatica increases by 40% for every extra 10 years of life while up to 40% of patients will experience chronic conditions. In truth, you shouldn’t have any trouble understanding the reasons why people would prefer to use walking as a key feature of their sciatica treatment plan. Some of the most attractive features include, but are not limited to;
- Walking for sciatic nerve pain can be adopted immediately.
- It doesn’t cost any money to go for a walk.
- Walking will provide a plethora of extra physical and mental health rewards.
- Walking can be integrated into daily life without disruptions.
- It is a step that puts you in control of durations too.
Moreover, walking will not stop you from completing any other therapy for sciatic nerve pain. It is a natural part of daily life. So, you would subsequently be able to consider Orthopedic Surgery, Interventional Pain Management, Physiatry, Cardiology, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture, Functional Medicine, Chiropractic Care, Pilates, Nutrition, and Massage Therapy for long-term vitality and health.
While the incentives for wanting to incorporate walking into your sciatica treatment are clear, it will only be worth doing if the treatment will actually improve the situation.
Does walking actually reduce sciatica symptoms?
When looking for answers on how to stop sciatic nerve pain, there are three key questions to ask. They are;
- Can it help prevent sciatica from surfacing?
- Will the treatment reduce or eliminate pain?
- Does the treatment speed up recoveries?
As far as walking as a preventative measure is concerned, walking is a great way to reduce the likelihood of sciatic flare-ups. Each additional pound of weight places 4lbs of extra strain on the spine. So, the fact that walking helps you lose fat can have a positive impact by reducing the load on your back.
Furthermore, walking builds up your muscles and promotes a better range of movement. Taking shorter strides and walking at a slower pace will also help take some of the strain away from the sciatic nerve. Herniated discs are responsible for around 90% of sciatica cases. Therefore, these preventative measures can be life-changing, with suggestions that walking can reduce your risks by 33%.
Walking is a low-impact exercise that can additionally be used as a first-line treatment for existing sciatica. Any weight loss, muscle growth, and movement improvements can support natural recoveries. Meanwhile, walking is shown to reduce inflammation, which is one of the leading causes for actual pain. Likewise, it will reduce endorphins to promote similar benefits.
Despite its traditions, bed rest may actually cause more damage than good. Walking keeps muscles engaged while simultaneously protecting the sciatic nerve, which makes it great for long-term rewards without any major downfalls. Tucking in your stomach and focusing on deep breathing can bring even better results.
Of course, if sciatica has surfaced due to an injury rather than a progressive issue, you may be forced to take it easy. Meanwhile, avoiding major inclines and wearing shoes that are designed for walking will aid you.
In short, though, walking for sciatic nerve pain is an effective form of pain relief and symptom management while it may additionally speed up natural recoveries and help prevent future flare-ups.
A Word of Warning
While walking can help you manage and prevent sciatic pain, you should familiarize yourself with the potential dangers too. An incorrect stride can actually place extra strain on the joints, muscles, discs, and sciatic nerve. Therefore, it’s vital that you address any of the following issues ASAP;
- Walking with a hunch,
- Walking with a flat back,
- Curving your lower back,
- Tilting your pelvis,
- Walking on your toes or heels.
Appreciating the stride tips above is important. Meanwhile, landing on your midfoot before rolling onto the toes is advised.
Additional Therapy for Sciatic Nerve Pain
Walking is a great weapon in the battle to stay on top of sciatic nerve pain. For the best results, you may need to combine walking with a variety of other steps to build a comprehensive strategy. Some of the most beneficial options include;
- Spinal decompression treatments that offer a non-surgical solution and can reduce a 6/10 pain to 1/10.
- Physical therapies and stretches designed to reduce pressure and support general lower back health.
- Heat therapy, using ice packs to reduce swelling and heat packs to produce further reductions.
- NSAID anti-inflammatory medicines that can be purchased over-the-counter to produce immediate relief.
- Spinal injections that target localized pain and can remove symptoms for a period of up to three months.
- Acupuncture, biofeedback, and alternative therapies to reduce inflammation and kill symptoms of pain.
To discover the best option for your specific case, it will be necessary to investigate the source of your sciatica. Aside from pointing you towards the best chiropractic care for sciatic nerve pain, it will also deliver peace of mind.
In severe cases of sciatica, surgical treatments may be required. Microdiscectomy and Laminectomy are the two most common choices, although they can come with risks. As such, it is always advised to try alternative methods first. Walking should form a central step on the road to recovery.
To learn more about sciatica treatments, get in touch with OC Wellness today.