07 Jan 2020

Sitting ducks and sciatica

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Alan Nevies and his colleagues at northlondonosteopaths have blogged about this before, but now we look at the problem from a new angle. The increase in numbers of the work force absent from work because of back pain can be explained by the deskbound day of a large number of people. Additionally, the lower back pain often leads to or includes the condition known as sciatica. Anyone who has suffered from sciatica will confirm that this legacy or type of backpain can be very nasty. So how can office workers take a stand against sciatica?

The horrible statistic (unless you are an osteopath who can help) is that a third of mid-lifers are affected by lower back pain each year, especially people in their 40’s. As the lumbar spine has the least structural support and endures the most strain, it is most frequently injured.

The “calling card” often left by lower back pain is sciatica, which is a referred pain down the buttock and leg. It can be so severe as to interfere with or prevent sitting or standing for more than about 5 mins at a time, getting oneself dressed and lifting up a young child.

Whilst there are physical reasons to explain the uncomfortable reality of sciatica, for example a herniated disc, age or poor muscle quality the increased incidence is also as a result of sitting too much. The right exercises are very important but sometimes in order to increase mobility Alan Nevies and his colleagues at northlondonosteopaths recommend manipulation or the right massage to the muscles supporting the back.

One sciatic sufferer spent 3 months lying down as it was too painful to sit or stand. Luckily he was a self employed designer who could continue working flat on his back.

Unfortunately the recurrence of back pain is high, often due to insufficient rehabilitation and return to old and bad habits, notably prolonged sitting. One afflicted individual has now invested in a standing desk, stretching 3 times a day and monitoring how much he moves with his watch. Alan Nevies and colleagues at northlondonosteopaths would endorse all of these strategies, and welcome anyone who feels twinges to come to the practice to get bespoke advice.