Explained: How to Sit with Sciatica

A man sits at his computer researching how to sit with sciatica while experiencing intense sciatica pain.

Living with sciatica pain can be difficult, and the pain can often interfere with your ability to perform your day-to-day activities. While many instances of sciatica are acute and can resolve on their own, in some cases, sciatica can become a chronic condition that lingers.

Many people suffering from sciatica will find that symptoms can flare up or worsen when sitting, especially for long periods. This article explains best practices for how to sit with sciatica and how chiropractic care can be a long-term solution for sciatica.

Understanding Sciatica

Before we explain how to sit with sciatica, it’s important to understand how the condition affects the body. Sciatica is an irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest and thickest nerve in the entire body.

The sciatica nerve is rooted in the pelvis and runs through the legs and into the feet, providing the sensation of feeling and mobility to much of the lower part of the body. When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated by causes such as herniated discs, diabetes, or trauma, painful symptoms can arise that extend through the length of the afflicted leg.

A visualization of sciatica affecting the right leg of a patient.

Common symptoms associated with sciatica are: 

  • Burning, shooting, or radiating pain from the lumbar region to the feet
  • Lower back pain
  • Weakness, numbness, and/or a “pins-and-needles” sensation in the feet and legs
  • General discomfort in the leg
  • Pain when bending over or standing from a seated position
  • Pain when twisting or rotating the body

Sitting With Sciatica

Sciatica symptoms can worsen when sitting for long periods, so it’s important to know how to sit with sciatica. When we sit, we place a lot of exogenous pressure on the lower back where the sciatic nerve is rooted. This causes the sciatic nerve, which is already under a lot of stress, to receive additional strain.

However, there are some practices that you can do to help lower the amount of stress placed on your sciatic nerve that should reduce pain and discomfort. 

A visualization of how to sit at a computer with proper posture.

It should be noted that because sciatica has many different causes and affects everyone uniquely, there is no singularly proper way to sit with sciatica, and finding specific ways to alleviate symptoms will take some experimentation. With that said, trying some or all of the following is likely to help.

How to Sit With Sciatica
Think about your sitting ergonomics.When sitting, make sure you are taking into account things like foot height, chair height, and chair support. Your feet should be flat on the floor when sitting, and your lumbar spine should have support to help it maintain its neutral position. A foot stool is useful when your chair is too high.

You should also consider a sitting/standing desk in which you can alternate positions throughout the day, giving your sciatic nerve some much-needed reprieve.
Try different types of cushioning.Most chairs don’t offer the right amount of cushioning for the spine, and pressure on the spine and sciatic nerve builds up over extended sitting sessions. 

Many cushions, such as orthopedic seat cushions and stability discs, are designed specifically to keep pressure off of the lumbar spine and sciatic nerve.
Take extended breaks.This one may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget to take a break from a relatively relaxed position like seating. 

However, getting up and walking around can remove pressure from the lower back and also work the muscles in the area to keep them from becoming tense.
Improve your sitting posture.Sitting posture is just as important as standing posture, and making improvements to your sitting posture could go a long way in helping improve your symptoms. 

Behaviors such as reducing your forward head posture and ensuring that your shoulders aren’t rolled forward will keep excess stress off of your sciatic nerve.
Consider chiropractic care.If any of the following fail to provide long-term alleviation of sciatica symptoms, it could mean that there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed by a medical professional. 

For instance, factors like slight pelvic asymmetry can result in uneven distribution of weight onto the lower back and sciatic nerve when sitting, even if you don’t realize it.

Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica Can Help

When changing your sitting habits doesn’t help with your sciatica, it might be time to set up a chiropractic consultation. Because chronic sciatica is often caused by spinal alignments, herniated discs, and postural irregularities, such as pelvic asymmetry and leg length inequality, chiropractors can solve sciatica at the source.

Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive way to effectively eliminate sciatica. Depending on the specific cause of your sciatica, a chiropractor can apply treatments such as massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments. However, it all starts with identifying the true cause of your sciatic pain. 

PostureWorks Resolves Sciatica 

Since sciatica affects every person differently, eliminating it requires an equally distinct approach to treatment. That’s why at PostureWorks, we use Chiropractic BioPhysics® to engage in a thorough health analysis that properly assesses your spinal health to isolate the true cause of your sciatica. 

With this information, we craft a safe and effective treatment plan that utilizes a combination of postural exercises, neuromuscular reeducation, massage therapy, spinal tractions, and chiropractic adjustments, tailored specifically to your needs. That way, you’ll enjoy freedom from sciatic pain without having to worry about it recurring. 

Contact us today to learn more about how to sit with sciatica or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks.

Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive.

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