It is well known that poor posture while we sit or stand can cause back problems. But did you know that your walking posture can also affect your sciatic nerve? If you have pain that shoots down your leg, it is very possible that your sciatic nerve is to blame. Sciatica can be caused by a bone, spinal disc, or muscle putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. To combat this, you should begin by aligning your body properly while walking.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that often affects the back, hip, and outer part of your leg. It is a shooting pain that can be so severe it makes sitting or standing almost impossible. Sciatica is often caused by the compression of one of the spinal nerve roots found in the lower back. This compression is often a result of a disc, bone, or muscle putting pressure on the spinal nerve root. If you believe that sciatica is the cause of your back pain, contact a back doctor such as Solomon Kamson of the Spine Institute Northwest for diagnosis and options for treatment.
How Does Walking Affect Sciatica?
To understand how walking affects sciatica, you must understand how the body works. It is our bones that are responsible for holding us upright. The muscles are responsible for moving our bones. The nerves fit into this because they send the necessary messages to tell the muscles to move the bones.
For the nerves to effectively send messages, our body must be aligned properly. The legs should be under the pelvis, and the spine should be aligned directly above the pelvis. This allows the nerves to freely flow throughout the body. So where does walking fit into this equation?
If you think about it, as you walk you are essentially falling forward and then catching yourself. The brain sends a message through the nerves to tell the muscles to bring the rear foot forward, to prevent falling. However, when this message occurs, it is not uncommon for people to slightly lean backward. This slight lean is what can cause trouble with your sciatic nerve.
Over time, the poor posture you exhibit while walking can cause the spine to misalign, discs to become misplaced, and muscles are weakened. This can lead to pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve. This results in the shooting pain known as sciatica.
Practicing Good Posture While Walking
There are several steps you can take to ensure the way you walk is not affecting your back. As you walk, take care to align your spine correctly. You should suck in your abdomen and walk with your shoulders back. Align your shoulders over your hips. Allow your arms to swing naturally at your sides, to promote balance. You should also align your neck, so there is no pressure placed on your cervical spine. Walk with your chin forward and your head aligned with your neck.
Take care not to lock your knees as you are walking. You should gently bend your knees to make a fluid walking motion. Additionally, choose proper footwear while walking. The right shoe will provide good arch support and a sturdy, flat sole. Proper cushioning will also alleviate the amount of pressure on the spine when you walk across hard surfaces. If you are experiencing pain that you believe may be the result of sciatica, contact a pain specialist like Dr. Sol Kamson.