Living Each Day

Tips for living each day

Living Each Day

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Tips for living each day

Walking

Good posture and learning how to walk is all important when you suffer from sciatic pain. Alexander Technique is a good way of teaching you how to walk. Stand next to a wall (or door) with your back towards the wall. Touch the wall with your heels, your buttocks, your shoulder blades and the top rear part of your head - (pull your tummy in slightly, this helps). You are now in the correct posture. Try walking. It will seem strange at first, but if you conscientiously try to walk upright, with your head held high, you might find that through time the sciatic pain in your leg eases.

When my sciatica was at its peak I found that although I could hardly walk I could cycle. I could not swim breaststroke but could do limited front crawl. Backstroke however was OK. I could walk leaning over a shopping trolley with minimal pain!

Sitting

I ended up purchasing an office chair. It was the only one which provided the correct back support and allowed me to sit with the upper part of my legs parallel to the floor. I believe if your seat too low, so that when you sit down and you bring your knees together, if you were to place a tennis ball on your knees it would roll towards your tummy - then this is conducive to lower back problems.

Most people who suffer from back pain discover the best position to sit and lie. It is usually in a position where the pain is least. To many this would be sitting upright but slightly slouched back.

Studies by Scottish and Canadian research teams in 2006 discovered that the optimum seating position for minimum stress on the spine is when the back is at an angle of 135 degrees. In other words sit upright and slightly slouch backwards.

Sleeping

Ensure your bed is firm, not necessarily brick hard, but comfortable, providing good support. When going to sleep, if you are bothered with extreme sciatic pain, you will probably find the best position to lie in is in the foetal position. It will also help if you place a pillow between your knees.

Eating

There is an old saying you are what you eat. There is no doubt if you are over weight then you will probably exacerbate any back or sciatic problems particularly if you are carrying that weight about your middle. It's easy to put on weight as you get older and your metabolism slows down a bit. So it's even more important, if you are over weight, to push your chair away from the table before you get that full up feeling. Try to eat your combination of five fruit and vegetables a day and if you must snack between meals this is an ideal time to have a piece of fruit. If you are trying to lose weight you should also try to do some aerobic exercise to get the heart rate up as well. Remember to choose an exercise which will not worsen your condition. Swimming is ideal as your body is partially supported by water.

Exercise and stretching

  • You should warm up for about 10 minutes before starting out on stretching.
  • Devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day to exercise and stretching.
  • When stretching be sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds taking care not to overstretch.
  • Do exercises to strengthen the tummy muscles as well as the transverse abdominus.
  • Do passive exercises to stretch the lower back.
  • Ensure you do at least half an hour of aerobic exercise twice a week minimum, to get the heart rate up and blood pumping.
  • If you are about to do anything that might re-admit you to the bad back club, and that includes simple operations like painting about the house, do some stretches before and after.