Something that many people know is that sitting too much causes sciatica. After all, one thing that many cases of sciatica have in common is that the people that suffer from it generally have jobs or lifestyles that involve sitting for a good portion of the day, whether it be working at a desk in an office, being a truck driver, or a student sitting in school for many hours a day.
But surly this can’t be the whole story, can it? There are so many other people out there that sit just as long, if not longer, that never experience the pain of sciatica. What else is going on here?
Well, for starters, sitting for long periods of time can cause stiffening in the muscles of the hips and back. This is probably one of the most common reasons why people develop conditions such as piriformis syndrome where a muscle becomes tense and irritates the sciatica nerve.
I understand that many jobs require sitting for many hours on end, such as office jobs or driving jobs and situations like sciatica or “trucker’s butt” may seem unavoidable. However, you certainly don’t need to sit continuously for 8 hours, do you?
Take a break every two hours or so and stand up from your desk or pull off to the side of the road and get out and move your body a little bit. Something as simple as this can be huge in preventing that muscle stiffness from developing and getting your blood flowing again.
Secondly, most people do not sit properly. I know so many people that put their wallet in their back pocket while they sit down or people that slouch or slump down in their chair while they’re working. These kinds of habits are just setting you up for sciatica.
You see, sitting with a wallet in your back pocket raises one hip higher than the other, which in turn, throws the whole spine out of alignment. And sitting with poor posture, that is just misaligning the spine as well.
When this happens, pressure and stress are not spread evenly through the spine the way they are meant to be and this can cause things like muscular imbalances and bulging discs in the back or hip areas.
It isn’t a big leap to go from bulging discs and muscle imbalances to sciatica pain and the belief that sitting is responsible for it all.
Really, though, it is important to realize that the act of sitting itself isn’t responsible for sciatica. Sitting is a normal and commonplace thing in our society. The problem is in the way that we sit.
Many of us sit for too long without taking breaks to stretch or just get up and walk for a few minutes. Others of us have developed poor habits while we are sitting that contribute to back problems. Indeed, sitting isn’t the problem so much as being smart about how we sit. Make sure you take a break every few hours to stretch and make sure you aren’t holding yourself in unusual positions while you are sitting either.