As someone who has personally experienced the discomfort and frustration of sciatica pain, I understand how difficult it can be to go about your daily activities, including sitting for long periods of time. Whether you are working at a desk, driving, or relaxing at home, sciatica pain can make it difficult to find a comfortable position and can interfere with your ability to focus and be productive. If you are struggling with sciatica pain while sitting, you are not alone. In this blog post, I will share some tips and techniques that I myself and others have found useful as well as some of the muscles that have an effect on sciatica pain.
How To Relieve Sciatica Pain While Sitting - What Causes Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica is a type of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the legs. Sciatica pain can be severe and debilitating, making it difficult to sit, stand, or walk for long periods. If you are experiencing sciatica pain while sitting, it can be especially frustrating, as sitting is something that most of us do for several hours each day. How to relieve sciatica pain while sitting and well as how to relieve sciatica pain in bed involve many of the same surrounding muscles and tips and strategies in order for you to find relief.
How To Relive Sciatica Pain While Sitting - Simple Changes:
Here are some ways how to relieve sciatica pain while sitting:
- Use a lumbar roll or cushion to support the natural curvature of your lower back while sitting.
- Sit on an ergonomic chair that supports the natural curvature of your spine.
- Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time. Take frequent breaks to stand up and stretch (avoid stiffness).
- Avoid crossing your legs while sitting, as this can put additional pressure on your lower back and worsen sciatica pain (this also goes for sleeping).
- Try to sit with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Consider using a heating pad or hot water bottle to help relax tense muscles and relieve pain.
It's important to note that these are only temporary measures and that it's important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing severe or persistent sciatica pain. Your doctor will be able to determine the underlying cause of your pain and recommend the appropriate treatment.
How To Relive Sciatica Pain While Sitting - Muscle Culprits:
There are several muscles that can play a role in how to relieve sciatica pain while sitting. These muscles include:
Quadratus lumborum (QL):
The quadratus lumborum muscle, located in the lower back, is responsible for maintaining proper alignment of the spine and facilitating lateral flexion (bending to the side). If the QL muscle becomes imbalanced, it can cause strain on the lower back and irritation of the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica pain.
This large muscle in the buttocks is responsible for hip extension and rotation. Tightness or weakness in the gluteus maximus can contribute to sciatica pain by causing problems with the alignment of the pelvis and spine.
The piriformis is a small, pear-shaped muscle located in the buttocks. It is responsible for external rotation of the hip joint and helps to stabilize the pelvis. Tightness or spasm of the piriformis muscle can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve and lead to sciatica pain. This is known as piriformis syndrome (read here on how to sit with Piriformis Syndrome).
The gluteus medius is a muscle located in the buttocks that is responsible for hip abduction and rotation. Weakness or imbalance in the gluteus medius can cause problems with the alignment of the pelvis and spine, leading to strain on the lower back and irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The hip flexor muscles, such as the iliopsoas and rectus femoris, are responsible for flexing the hip joint. Tightness in these muscles can cause strain on the lower back and irritation of the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica pain.
The hamstring muscles, located in the back of the thighs, are responsible for hip extension and knee flexion. Tightness in the hamstrings can contribute to sciatica pain by causing problems with the alignment of the pelvis and spine.
How To Relieve Sciatica Pain While Sitting - Getting Help:
If you are wondering how to relieve sciatica pain while sitting and suspect that one of these muscles may be contributing to your pain, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your muscle imbalances and recommend appropriate treatment, such as stretching, sciatic pain massage, strengthening exercises, and possibly physical therapy.
 Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.
 Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.