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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Low Back Pain and Sciatica

General Guidelines for Managing Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Making changes to lifestyle habits can help some people ease low back pain and sciatica. It can also lower the risk of it happening again in the future. Here are some steps.

  • Make changes to activities
  • Practice good posture
  • Exercise
  • Reach or maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid smoking
  • Manage stress
Make Changes to Activities

Staying in bed does not usually help low back pain. It can weaken muscles and slow healing. A person should keep doing normal activities if they are able. They should avoid doing anything that worsens pain, such as heavy lifting and sitting or standing for long periods.

Practice Good Posture

Poor posture and slouching can put more pressure on the back. Stand and sit upright as much as possible.

Exercise

Exercise regularly to strengthen back muscles. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Low-impact activities are a good choice. Some options are swimming, walking, or biking.

Reach or Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight puts extra pressure on the back. Reach or maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking can cause disks in the spine to break down. People who smoke should talk to their doctors about ways to quit.

Manage Stress

Stress can increase muscle tension and lead to pain. Relaxation methods like deep breathing and meditation can help to ease stress.

References

Acute low back pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-low-back-pain. Accessed May 5, 2022.

Chronic low back pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-low-back-pain. Accessed May 5, 2022.

Low back pain. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/low-back-pain. Accessed May 5, 2022.

Sciatica. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12792-sciatica. Accessed May 5, 2022.

Sciatica. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sciatica. Accessed May 5, 2022.