Sciatica from sitting is a positional exacerbator typically experienced by many patients with any type of lower back pain. Sitting is an activity enjoyed by the human species for multitudes of generations. It is not inherently bad for the back or spine, but is still often targeted as a source of painful symptoms. This is a topic that I know well, since sitting has been the bane of my own existence for years. I completely empathize with anyone who must sit to work, but literally can not sit. Not for long. Not at all. Never comfortably. This was my fate, as well.
This article will provide some insights as to why sitting can be so painful for sciatica sufferers and how to cope with the simple fact that most people need to sit, at least sometimes.
Sitting does increase pressure on the lumbar spine and is a minor source of general spinal degeneration. However, this is normal to experience and is not usually the cause of any pain.
Sitting for long periods of time, just like doing any activity for an extended duration, can create muscular stiffness and even minor pain. This is why it is so important to get up and move around frequently while seated. Do not stay in one position the entire time you must sit down, but instead, try to vary your weight distribution and get up to walk and stretch every so often.
Patients with some forms of actual anatomical pinched nerve conditions enacting their symptoms might find sitting is particularly painful. However, many patients with other forms of sciatica also find sitting to be a torture, even though there is no logical physical reason for the pain to get worse. This occurrence is often part of the conditioning process which occurs to every patient with anatomical or psychogenic back or neck pain.
It is very difficult to avoid sitting. People need to sit for many job functions and also to drive or be driven to their various responsibilities in life.
Even patients who successfully avoid sitting often find that after some time, they become sensitive to excessive standing or even lying down.
These multiple activity restrictions are most commonly associated with psychosomatic sciatica, since the pain condition will not be denied and will do anything to become the star of your life. Remember, these types of pains exist simply to distract the sufferer from repressed emotional issues, so they will do whatever it takes to be noticed, as often as possible.
In fact, in a great number of cases, the underlying contributory emotions are related to the circumstances in which symptoms occur. Basically, this means that there may be some emotional sensitivity which is expressed when sitting, since sitting is inherently part of the psychological reason for the pain. These are mostly work-related concerns and I am sure many of you can see the logic in this immediately, upon some introspection.
If you are one of the few people who actually have an anatomical reason why sitting is problematic, it is crucial to speak to your doctor about what can be done to end your pain, seated or not. Generally speaking, structural sources of sciatica respond well to indicated treatment options and should resolve in the allotted time frame of 2 to 8 weeks.
Patients with long-term pain or whose pain has not responded to appropriate therapy options are often misdiagnosed and are actually suffering from some other causative process, such as an undiscovered spinal issue, a nonspinal muscular problem, a disease process or even ischemic sciatica.
These poor souls will typically remain in agony for years, or even decades, while their pain is mistakenly blamed on some innocent and coincidental scapegoat condition in the spine. However, they have not even considered the true reasons for their symptoms, so they continue to quest for sciatica relief from a condition which is not even the actual causation of their pain.
I recommend getting several opinions from various types of doctors when trying to ascertain the source of seated sciatica. Make doctors commit to a specific reason for the pain, if they will, and then compare and contrast the various theories to see what makes the most sense. I highly recommend enrolling the services of an orthopedist, a neurologist and a physical therapist, if not a chiropractor or 2, as well.