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  • Cherry Health Center

Making It through the Holidays with Sciatica

If you struggle with sciatica, then you know how hard it is to live with the constant pain and discomfort. This common problem makes everything harder because it follows you all day long:  when you commute to work, sit at a desk, or just spend the afternoon running errands. During the holidays, however, it can be even more challenging to deal with sciatica due to holiday travel and the extra activities that come with the season.

So how can you keep sciatic pain from taking the joy out of the holidays? While professional medical help is the long-term solution, we have a few tips that can help you in the meantime.

  1. Make time for stretching

Stretching can relieve pressure in the lower back and take the edge off of sciatic pain. So, whenever possible, get up and stretch your lower back. One way you can do this is by slowing leaning forward as though you’re reaching for your toes, making sure to round out your lower back in the process. You can also lay on your back and pull one knee at a time toward your chest, and then toward the opposite shoulder. If you’re traveling, you can do both of these stretches standing – just make sure you have something to help you balance.

  1. Have hot and cold packs handy

Applying cold can help reduce inflammation and calm down sciatic pain. Applying heat, on the other hand, can help stimulate healing and is generally relaxing for muscles. For many people, alternating between these two types of therapy is helpful. You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for you. If you’re traveling for the holidays, bring hot and cold packs with you so you can get pain relief wherever you go.

  1. Pay attention to position

Sitting for long periods of time can be hard for those with sciatica, but it often comes with the territory during the holidays due to family gatherings and travel. One way you can combat this problem is to alter your sitting position regularly. For instance, you can tilt your seat backwards, even slightly, to reduce the pressure on your sciatic nerve. Shift your weight from one side to the other regularly as well. Some people also find that a lumbar support pillow takes pressure off your lower back, and calms down sciatic pain.

Few things ruin a good time like pain, especially the constant ache and discomfort that comes with sciatica. Keep in mind, however, that while these tips can help you cope with sciatic pain, they are only temporary measures. To overcome sciatic pain for good, you’ll need to seek help from a medical professional.

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