With more people than ever working from home, sitting for longer periods throughout the day and having less movement than ever, back pain is on the rise. This is such a common, and often a debilitating condition.
People who are suffering, or want to prevent suffering are turning to solutions that they can do themselves at home so they can get back to their normal selves quicker, possibly without having to book expensive appointments.
Learning preventative and natural remedies that can be your go to solutions to lift yourself naturally away from back issues can give you more options when the pain arises next.
How Do I Know If My Pain is Sciatica?
Lower back pain and sciatica are two conditions that often get confused or blended together. Make no mistake, sciatica pain is defined specifically by the pain experienced.
Often sciatica nerve irritation feels like sharp pain, radiating and/or with the sensation of burning starting in the lower back region. Numbness or tingling may also be experienced at the same time in the lower back and into the legs and feet.
The sciatic nerve is compromised by a bundle of nerves that join together to form the largest nerve we have in our body. This nerve is found travelling down the lower back, to under the buttock muscles and eventually to the legs and feet.
Pain that is felt with a sciatic nerve irritation or deterioration is because of unnatural, unbalanced pressure that has been placed on the nerve, or there is an obstruction like a heriated disk leaning into or pinching the nerve, causing severe discomfort.
Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain
There are several activities that can lead to the deterioration or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which leads to pain.
Sitting too long, not having enough movement throughout the day, unnatural movement causing injury like a herniated disk in the lumber area, potential uneven weight balancing of pregnancy or high heel shoes are all potential causes of sciatic nerve irritation, which can cause pain on a level ranging from uncomfortable to unbearable.
Back Health Benefits From Foam Rolling
- Rolls/flattens out stiffness in the back to promote muscle relaxation
- Pressure from the rolling process increases circulation which promotes healing to that area
- Improves and increases the muscle flexibility over time to allow the back to be less prone to strain
- Improves balance with muscle use to avoid unnatural movements that can cause injury
Buying A Foam Roller
What kind of foam roller is best? Most all foam rollers have their merits. There is no need to spend too much on them. The orange one in the picture is a high density foam roller, and it will work great. The one in the link below is one of the least expensive options, and you get to pick from a wide variety of colors.
A Deeper, More Targeted Foam Roller Option
Another variation of the basic foam roller was created by a company called Chirp. Proof that it works is now there are knock offs made to look just like it, but make no mistake, most do not have the patented groove for the spine which protects it while you roll out tightness and stressed out back muscles. They have a slimmer, more targeted design that grabs the back muscles and digs deep, producing real results.
I recommend this in addition to the basic foam roller for when you get a little bit of practice and really want to dig into the knots and release the cracks. It is also a good device to aid in warming up, to get your back ready for sports and movement, preventing avoidable strains that can result from not warming up.
Below is the Chirp device in action. It comes in 3 different sizes so you can start with the largest one, which is the least targeted and intense, and work your way to the smallest one, which is most intense and wonderful once you have been doing this for a while.
I bought these for gifts for loved ones last year. They were a hit!
There are even vibrating back rollers that give even more deep tissue massage and soothe on an even higher level. These act as a massaging as well as a stretching and rolling tool, all in one. Chirp has a vibrating roller called the Chirp Pro.
Click here to see Chirp’s version of the roller with vibration, and check price
Foam Roller Exercises To Help Relieve Sciatica
Placing the roller between your hip and the floor and rolling back and forth, slowly, and pausing in certain areas will help loosen or shift the area where the nerve is being irritated.
When targeting sciatica pain, target the roller on the tight hips, buttocks and legs, moving slowly on the roller to help loosen the tightened muscles for relief. It may not be helpful to use the roller on the lower back if it is putting too much strain on the spine, this depends on where the pain is focused.
I found a roller that is specifically recommended for helping to ease sciatica pain.
It is a medium density roller that makes it easy for beginners. It penetrates the soft tissue of tired muscles and it is soft enough to use while in pain or discomfort from sciatica, a lower back strain or even plantar fascitis.
This is a great recovery tool to increase performance, flexibility and treat muscle pain. If you want to change up your stretching routine, using a roller is a great way to stretch before and after exercise. When you roll your muscles, it increases blood flow and releases stored lactic acid.
Physical therapist Marek Purezynski shows the above still photo hip exercise in a video format below to help illustrate the alleviation of sciatica pain with a foam roller:
Keeping back pain at bay is a habit, like brushing your teeth. If you are prone to back or sciatica pain because you work sitting down for a majority of the day for example, take control of that.
When you get up for a break, roll your back out. Start a trend at the office! Keep the circulation flowing strong, and the muscles loose. Program a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget. Better to remind yourself than to have the pain and discomfort do the reminding for you!
I wish you and your back well!
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