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October 25, 2020 2 min read

Driving can aggravate your sciatic nerve.


HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE SCIATICA

The three most common signs of sciatica:

1. A dull deep ache in your buttocks, one side

2. Pain extending down the posterior lateral aspect of your leg

3. Numbness or tingling on the bottom of your foot.

man holding his butt sciatica
woman holding her leg sciatica
foot showing numbness tingling

WHAT IS THE SCIATIC NERVE

The sciatic nerve is a collection of five nerves from the lumbar spine. This bundle of nerves exits the low spine and courses down both legs to the foot.

It is the LARGEST nerve in the body, about 1/2" to 3/4" wide! It is relatively flat as opposed to round.

SCIATIC NERVE ANATOMICAL

"The SLIGHTEST PERCEPTIBLE TOUCH on the sciatic nerve can be very painful."


ACTIONS THAT IRRITATE THE SCIATIC NERVE

1. Weight gain around the belly area. Sciatica during pregnancy is common. A heavy belly forces the lumbar spine into extension moving the vertebra closer together while decreasing the thickness of lumbar discs.

2. A tight piriformis muscle. Tightening or shortening of the piriformis muscle puts direct pressure on the sciatic nerve.

3. A crooked posture. Constant uneven pressure on one side creates disc narrowing and pressure on the sciatic nerve.

4. Driving with a wallet in your back pocket can bring on sciatica.

man having his belly measured
pregnant woman
man standing crooked

"Downward compressive forces on the spine when driving creates the perfect scenario for back pain and sciatica. Especially for long-distance drivers and passengers."



ACTIONS TO HELP EASE SCIATICA WHEN IN THE CAR

  • Raise the knee of your affected leg higher than the level of that hip
  • Place a cushion under your knee of the affected leg
  • Move your car seat into more of a 'bucket' position rather than horizontal to the ground

woman in car with cushion under knee

A SIMPLE HACK - MAKE CUSHION FOR YOUR CAR


With a hand-towel

(1) Fold it in half lengthwise.

(2) Roll it up and

(3) secure with elastic bands.

hand towel
hand towel folded in half lengthwise
hand towel rolled up with elastic bands

THINGS TO HELP

  • Every hour, get out of your car and walk around, even for a minute or two.
  • A dry cold pack is wonderful for sciatic pain. Put it under your butt in the area of pain.
  • Do a piriformis stretch when you can.

PIRIFORMIS STRETCHES


man knee to chest standing sciatic stretch
woman seated sciatic stretch
woman laying on back sciatic stretch

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