Ergonomics – Sciatica Pain Management Through Proper Posture

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Ergonomics typically deals with the study of how work is done. In the simplest terms, ergonomics takes into account the science of work. Ergonomists, therefore, have a significant role to play in our lives, since they are the ones responsible for studying the demands of work. Ergonomics is required in almost all work environments, and its practitioners train employees as well as employers on various work techniques that pose minimum risks of injury.

One may wonder, what does ergonomics have to do with sciatica and the associated pain? Well, the answer is – quite a lot! If you are suffering from sciatica, you may very well be aware of the pain it causes in your lower back, leg and buttock. All of this does make working a very painful task. However, applying very basic ergonomic principles can help you get through work relatively easily, and hopefully with lesser and controlled pain.

Below, we highlight and briefly explain some techniques that you can incorporate in your regular work routine to ease sciatica pain.

When sitting

Sitting for a very long time at a stretch will not be helpful, and can prove to be uncomfortable e to say the least. Instead, try standing up and taking a break after small intervals, say 20-25 minutes. Additionally, it is a good practice to walk a few laps around your desk in this break time.

Your sitting posture also plays a considerable role in easing your sciatica pain. If possible, have an ergonomic chair placed at work. Alternatively, you can also add support for your lower back in the usual chair, like a rolled towel.

Moreover, sitting without crossing your legs can also help ease the pain. Ergonomists suggest that patients keep their feet flat on the floor. Keeping your knees and hips bent slightly will also have a positive effect, especially when they are bent at an angle of 45°.

When standing

The movement that you do when standing up also has some effect on your sciatica pain. Typically, when people tend to stand up, they bend at their waist. This can cause considerable pain, and refraining from doing this can help ease your pain when standing up. The correct movement would be to slide to the front edge of your seat, and then straighten your legs to stand up on them. This reduces the possibility of further aggravating an already aggravated sciatic nerve, thus minimizing pain.

Even if your job requires you to stand for long hours, avoid standing in a single place. It is suggested that you keep one foot rested on a small tool or even a box, and alternate it after regular small intervals.

Ergonomic chairs

It is best if you have a chair with wheels. This will help you move around in your chair as a single unit, rather than turning and twisting if you need to grab something from your work desk.

Most importantly, it is advised that you remain close to your workspace so to minimize bending efforts. Relax your shoulders, and ensure that your elbows and arms remain on the desk.

For computer users

For those suffering from sciatica, working on a computer for a long stretch can be very painful. However, making an ergonomic computer workstation is quite simply, and we explain the process in three simple steps.

•    Keep your monitor at eye level and at a comfortable distance
•    Keep your mouse and keyboard close to you (so you can reach them without bending at all)
•    Sit in a chair that offers support for your back (preferably an ergonomic chair)

Conclusively, it is essential that you limit your muscle movements. If you find yourself in a situation that demands you to carry some weight, it is best that you carry equal weights in both hands, although we strongly advise that you refrain from carrying any weights in such situations. Moreover, your mattress on which you rest also largely matters. Therefore, ensure that the one you rest on is not soft and too lumpy, since it will not be able to properly support your spine.

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