How Your Walking Posture May Be Affecting Your Sciatic Nerve

Walking is an everyday movement that can affect multiple areas of your body. Whether you’re walking for a few minutes a day while moving from one room to another or for hours while exercising or completing our day-to-day work, walking is healthy for your body. However, it’s surprising how little we are mindful of our walking posture, even though it can affect various aspects of our body.
Our sciatic nerve is the one body part likely to fall victim to incorrect walking posture. Poor walking posture causes pressure, compression, or inflammation of your sciatic nerve, which may lead to sciatica or worsen your sciatica symptoms. Our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help you treat your sciatic nerve pain.

What Is Your Sciatic Nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in our body, which branches from our lumbar spine (lower back region) through our buttocks and hips and down to each leg and foot. Compression or inflammation of this important nerve root may cause pain in one leg that radiates down the sciatic nerve path, a condition known as sciatica.

Though different spine conditions cause sciatica, unnatural walking posture may significantly cause pressure on the lower back and pelvic region, making the surrounding muscles press on the sciatic nerve.

Walking Postures That May Affect Your Sciatic Nerve

Poor posture while walking or standing may misalign the bones or stress muscles in your spine or hips and buttocks, causing inflammation of the sciatic nerve. If something isn’t corrected over time, the person may develop sciatica due to the incorrect posture. For those already with sciatica symptoms, the wrong walking or standing posture may aggravate the pain and symptoms.

Here are some postures that affect the sciatic nerve that everyone should consciously avoid to protect their health.

Lordotic Posture

This is where you walk while excessively curving your lower back more than its natural shape. This type of walking style increases pressure on your vertebrae facet joints, which may potentially cause a stress overload on the spine and muscles that support your weight as you walk. Therefore, these muscles may compress the sciatic nerve, causing inflammation.

Swayback Posture

Characterized by walking with the pelvis in front, this potentially dangerous posture can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve. Typically, an individual in a swayback posture has their upper back in a backward position, and their pelvis pushed forward. This forces the back spine into an unnatural curve, potentially aggravating the pressure on the sciatic nerves and other parts of the body.

Flatted Walking Posture

Walking with a flattened back increases the risk of excessive pressure on the lumbar segment of the spine. Over time, muscles around your lumbar, buttocks, hips, and thighs may become drained and debilitated, causing them to compress the sciatic nerve.

Hunched Back or Kyphotic Posture

This is where you walk with your upper back bending in an unusual curve, causing your chest to incline forward. Hunched back posture increases stress on your abdomen and other lower back muscles.

Tips to Protect Your Sciatic Nerve

Walking with a proper posture has many benefits beyond protecting your sciatic nerve. For those with sciatica, a good walking posture can mean improved symptoms and better sciatica relief.

Here are some ways to help you improve your walking posture and consequently guard your sciatic nerve.

  • Walk in a more neutral, natural posture with your ears right above your shoulders, and your head straightened out on top of your spine.
  • Walk with a shorter stride length that doesn’t affect your normal spine curve.
  • Slowing your pace may also help you shorten your steps. A person walking at a comfortable pace should be able to calmly engage in a talk as they walk.
  • Engage in rhythmic breathing as you walk. This focused mode of breathing enables you to stay alert and focused while walking.
  • If you’re walking for a longer duration, take frequent breaks, sit down, and perform deep breathing.

Correct walking posture goes a long way in helping protect your sciatic nerve and several other muscles in your body.

Consult a Spine Specialist at NJ Spine & Orthopedic

The sciatic nerve is crucial in our body. If it is inflamed or compressed, it can lead to sciatica, a type of severe pain originating from the lower back down the legs. If you or someone you love has these symptoms, talk to our experienced orthopedic specialists. We are ready to curate a unique treatment plan specifically tailored for you.

If your sciatica requires surgery, you can count on the experienced and board-certified surgeons at NJ Spine & Orthopedic for optimal results. We can help you reduce pain and heal. Call us now at (866) 553-0612 or complete our online contact form to get started. Our Concierge Team can also help you streamline your appointments and reduce stress.

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