Are you dreading travel this summer because of back pain or sciatica? The main reason people suffer from back pain longer than they should is because they’ve been told just to rest, take some pills, or that its just an age thing. But, in this post, I share 3 keys to help you beat sciatica or low back pain before summer that you can start today to ease your back pain especially if you have a dream vacation coming up. Traveling is never "easy" but it is made doubly hard when dealing with back pain or sciatica. What used to be a comfortable 4 hour drive or flight now seems like an eternity and back pain after sitting for 30 minutes is now the norm. Safe to say that this can turn a dream vacation into a painful nightmare but what we’ve found at our Tallahassee Physiotherapy clinic is that the sooner you start to tame something like sciatica or low back pain, the less chance it has to take control of your life.
So, where to start
The first thing you can do is, if you know how long you are able to sit before your back pain or sciatica starts, then you want to get out ahead of it...literally. If you are able, take a 5 minute posture break by getting out of the car or walking the airplane. More often than not, you are not actually damaging anything by sitting there but it can continue getting worse. Whether that is pain going down the leg or just not being able to straighten your back, taking the 5 minutes sooner rather than later can make it so you arrive without debilitating back pain. Next, in the video below, I show you how to take a posture break for easing back pain or sciatica if getting up isn't an option.
Next, if you have back pain that is worse when bending over, things like washing dishes, picking up laundry, or if your sciatica goes down your leg when bending, try some gentle stretches about every 30 minutes to ease back stiffness and give your body a break. Try to avoid the same position over and over, especially if bending over at the sink causes back pain. One way to ease this is by switching your stance. How to do this? Start with how you normally wash the dishes. Every few minutes then switch so you have 1 leg in front(not quite a lunge stance but just enough so one leg takes more of the load). Then switch every few minutes so your muscles take the load and not your spine.
Next, staying hydrated through the summer and avoiding too many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks can also help ease pain. How? Both alcohol and caffeine irritate the nervous system. When the nervous system is irritated, it makes it easier for the back to hurt. In addition, both can ruin a good night's sleep which then makes pain worse the following day.
Also-many people ask which is better, hot or cold for low back pain. What I've found here at our clinic is that for muscle and back pain, heat tends to work best to ease stiff backs and tight muscles as well as ease the aches from back pain and sciatica. Want to learn more, Get your free guide 5 Things You Can Do Today to Ease Low Back Pain and Sciatica(plus things you should not do!)
Lastly-it is never too late to start getting the help you need. At our clinic in Tallahassee, we see and help people daily with back pain and sciatica. The good news is that no matter how long you've had it, often there are several things you can start to do today to begin easing it. Even if you've had back pain for years.
Confused about where to start? We got you covered! That’s why we offer free consultations to help you get to the root of why you are dealing with stiffness, pain, or just not performing the way you need to.
During one of our free consultations, the Total Body Diagnostic, we offer expert advice about the worry and frustration of life-changing aches and pains – for FREE, in under 30 minutes.
If this article describes your story and you are looking for some help with overcoming hip pain, we offer FREE consultations, which give you the opportunity to come in and meet us and see for yourself how we can help you.
Here are just a few of the things you will learn in one of our free consultation:
What is the underlying cause of your pain? (hopefully nothing too serious!)
Roughly, how long will it take to fix the problem?
What to do to help – which doesn’t include painkillers, resting or surgery etc.
What other, natural, drug free methods are there to speed up recovery alongside treatment?
Our consultations are great for anyone that may be “unsure” if physio is right for them, and they give you the opportunity to ask questions and see for yourself if we can help you.
If you’d like one of our limited free consultation sessions, please click here to request your Total Body Diagnostic or CALL us on 850-765-2779 to make a no-obligation enquiry.
About the Author
Dr. Brandon Alkire, DPT, CSCS, FMS, Cert. DN, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Strength Coach
Dr. Brandon is the owner and a Physio at Body Mechanix Physiotherapy and Fitness. Four of his favorite people call him daddy while he's been married to his other favorite person for 20 years. He enjoys teaching martial arts and is a Mestrando in Capoeira while in the mornings, he can be found working out with the guys in F3 around town. He's the author of 4 pain relief guides for sciatica, low back, shoulder, and knees and the lead contributor to the Active Tallahassee Blog.