How To Sit With Sciatica? (8 Best Sitting Tips)

In the post covid era, sedentary life is a new norm where sitting for a longer period has become second nature. This routine of prolonged sitting can develop into back pain and sciatica. The only way you’d have productive life is when you know how to sit with sciatica. When an average civilian spends more than 40% of their workday sitting, avoiding it seems not to be an option.

With sciatica, a harmless act of sitting can inflict excruciating pain, and when you know the probability of you acquiring sciatica pain, it is of utmost importance that you understand how to sit with sciatica pain-free.

Let’s learn everything there’s to know about sciatica: its causes, signs, and how to sit with proper postures.

What is Sciatica?

what is sciatica

Sciatica is a sensation caused by your injured sciatic nerve that can sometimes generate searing pain in your back, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica, which is a symptom, is more prevalent than you can think. Around 40% of people will have sciatica during their lives, and this occurrence becomes more probable as you get older.

It is often characterized as pinching or irritation in the sciatic nerve – the largest nerve in your body starting from the lumbar spine (lower spine) and running through your legs. It connects your legs with the brain.

As the sciatic nerve encompasses so many parts involved in motion, the probability of getting back and pelvis issues is relatively high.

Causes of Sciatica

As sciatica is a symptom, underlying reasons may vary from herniated disc to piriformis syndrome. So let’s have a closer in these conditions for better understanding.

1. Herniated Discs

Your vertebrae have a protective cartilage layer that separates these. The thick material inside the cartilage assists in locomotion by providing cushioning and flexibility. Often, riping of the cartilage layer results in herniated discs.

Consequently, the viscous material inside compresses the nerve, giving rise to lower back pain and numbness. The estimated prevalence of back pain due to slipped discs is 1-5% in all people during their lives.

2. Spondylolisthesis

This degenerative disk disorder makes one vertebra moves over another, which can affect the sciatic nerve.

3. Spinal Stenosis

This condition is characterized by narrowing the spinal cord in the lumbar region that exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve roots.

4. Piriformis syndrome

A muscle, known as the piriformis muscle, connects the lower region of the vertebrae to the thighbones. The piriformis muscle undergoes involuntary contraction, which can deploy pressure on the sciatic nerve. The longer periods of sitting can encourage piriformis syndrome.

Common Signs of Sciatica

The pain occurrence and intensity can vary among different people. Some common signs are:

  • Sciatic pain gets excruciating during movement
  • Feeling of numbness in the leg or feet
  • Your leg may experience a burning, tingling sensation
  • The pain is continuous in one side leg or buttock

What Sitting Has To Do With Sciatica?

The pressure exerted on your discs causes lower back and sciatica. Sitting with poor posture puts tremendous pressure on the discs. This pressure compresses the discs and can affect the nerves in the spine resulting in pain.

You may think sitting relaxes the body, and you are at rest. Well, that’s usually not the case as our body is not designed for prolonged sitting. Your back, buttocks, and tailbone experience excessive pressure.

Sitting affects the sciatic nerve in your glute, which can cause a sensation of searing pain in your leg. So, having a basic understanding of how to sit with sciatica can improve your productivity.

How To Sit With Sciatica Pain?

Understanding how to sit with sciatica can relieve some pain, especially when your job requires extended sitting. Given below are few tips on how to sit with sciatica that will get you some short-term benefits.

1. Sitting with Correct Posture

how to sit with sciatic pain

Proper posture can provide pain relief, and you can still sit comfortably with sciatica for a desk job. The best practices for sitting that can alleviate sciatic nerve pain are as follows:

  • While sitting, your buttocks and back should be touching the back of a chair. Use a lumbar pillow to maintain a neutral spine.
  • Try to sit with an open hip angle. It can be done by placing a cushion on top of your chair to raise its height or, if possible, use a kneeling chair.
  • If necessary to turn around, rotate your chair without twisting your spine.
  • Don’t cross your legs as it can block the blood circulation in your lower back and limbs, resulting in numbness.
  • Use a footrest to reduce the pressure under your thighs and place your feet flat on the floor.
  • Use a seat cushion to distribute the weight proportionally.

2. Using Sciatica-friendly Chair

When it comes to sciatica, what you sit on does matter. You may have a beautiful office chair, but does it support your legs? Does it avoid slouching posture?

The sciatica pain can exasperate with the poorly designed office chair. Experts recommend an office chair that fulfills these requirements:

  • The office chair should have a contoured waterfall edge. The seat has sufficient space between the back of thighs and seat edge.
  • The seat has lumbar support for the lower back and has a forward tilting seat that helps in minimizing pressure under the thighs.
  • Must have a footrest for placing feet in an elevated position.

So, having a fine ergonomic chair is helpful.

3. Make Everything Accessible

The efficacy of your work will increase, even with sciatica, if you make things accessible and within reach in your workstation. It will reduce your unnecessary movements, and you will be at ease.

4. Frequent Breaks

If you sit for long periods, sciatica pain will arise no matter what. Therefore, it is advised to take frequent breaks from sitting, say go for a water break every 45 minutes.

5. Proper Way To Get Up

Individuals suffering from sciatica shouldn’t bend their lower back while getting up. It can further exaggerate the pain. Instead, use your leg and arm muscles to get up while maintaining your back in upright stature.

6. Lumber Braces and Sciatica

You can wear lumbar braces, and these can help in pain relief. Lumbar braces restrict the movement of the lower spine and, in doing so, limit the chances of compression of the sciatic nerve.

7. Heat or Cold Therapy

Other than surgery, heat or cold therapy is another effective way to relieve sciatic pain.

Cold therapy reduces inflammation while heat therapy increases blood flow to reduce pain in the affected area.

8. Exercise and Stretches For Sciatica

Experts suggest specific exercises and stretches for sciatica can improve a healthy lifestyle. In addition, these stretches can lessen the symptoms and provide pain relief.

But not all exercises are helpful with sciatica; even some can exaggerate the condition. Exercises like bent-over rows, squats, and double leg lifts are the worst exercises for sciatica.

Exercises that involve stretching the piriformis muscles and relaxing the glutes one side at a time are the best sciatica relief. JUMP TO THE COMPLETE GUIDE HERE

Other Ways to Relieve Sciatica Pain

A simple healthy lifestyle can help to combat sciatica and other lower-body pains. By making these simple tips part of your daily routine can minimize the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle:


How to sit on the couch with sciatica?

While sitting on the couch with sciatica, make sure your body weight is equally distributed on both sides. For example, if you are leaning towards one side, then that side receives more pressure.

Make sure your back is flat against the backrest of the couch.

Your feet should touch the ground; if that is not possible, put your feet on the couch.

How to sit in a recliner while suffering from sciatica?

While reclining your chair, make sure your feet are on the recliner by bending your knees: this will put your back in a better position. READ THE COMPLETE GUIDE HERE

Can sciatica paralyze you?

Yes, it can. If sciatic symptoms go unchecked, can develop into cauda equina syndrome (CES). CES may result in paralysis.

How Long Does Sciatica Last?

Acute sciatica may go away within one to two weeks time. While chronic sciatic pain may wax and wane but remains persistent over several years. However, behavioral adjustment and home remedies are helpful enough in some cases to relieve it. READ MORE.

Bottom Line

The best way to cope with sciatica while sitting is your posture. By understanding how to sit with sciatica comfortably, you are making progress and making your life productive at the same time. Do incorporate frequent stretches and exercises.

While all these tips and suggestions can alleviate the symptoms, knowing the root cause and getting treatment from your physician is the best thing.

Steve is the content editor at Quick Stuffs in the health & fitness department. He is a 42 years old chiropractor willing to share his knowledge in personal injury relating to sciatica and lower back pain. He is often contributing to this community when not practicing a lot.

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