Many people with lower back pain or sciatica have pain driving or sitting for too long. In this case, it's helpful to understand why you might be feeling what you're feeling. Watch this video below to learn why most people have back pain when sitting or driving, what 10 second microstretch you could be doing to completely eliminate your pain (and allow you to stand up without being hunched over), and simple DIY changes you can make today to feel immediate lower back pain and sciatica relief. Click the video below to watch...
If you have lower back pain only, start to tweak or modify your sitting position- to see if you can change your lower back pain or leg pain.You could do this first by either slouching or sitting up super tall (rocking pelvis forward so you create an extreme arch in your lower back). You should then ask yourself- do things feel same, better or worse. If slouching makes things feel better- move your seat one inch closer and keep doing that. If slouching makes you feel worse- then try sitting up super tall... and see what that does... IF this helps- do more of this- consider adding a lower back support (small towel roll) behind your lower back while driving. You could also try sitting on a wedge, or tilting the front of your seat down. "Bucket seats" in many cars will cause your knees to be positioned slightly higher than your hips- which often causes your pelvis to rock backwards- resulting in you slouching. Sitting on a wedge or tilting the front of the seat slightly down will help to lessen this. What you'll often find is that changing the position of your spine will change either your back or leg symptoms. If this is the case- GREAT... you've found a switch.
As we know- if something is REPRODUCIBLE it is likely RE-DUCIBLE...
If you primarily have leg pain while you sit (but especially as you drive- because of how your legs may be extended to push on the gas/break...) then you may benefit from doing a couple things. First, move your seat one to two inches closer, or sit on a soft surface (you may find that the surface is a main issue... as sitting may be causing compression/too much pressure on the sensitive structures caused by nerve irritation...In either scenario- the idea is to tweak what bothers you- to see if you can change symptoms or pain... ideally you find a position that gives you relief... so that your pain and problem can start to calm down AND so that you can stop aggravating it every time you need to sit or drive.
Also, consider that movement is your medicine. You should understand that sitting and driving puts you most often in a bent or "flexed" forward position. Many times the spine and nerves can become sensitive to this position and need more of the opposite... and upright or "extended" position.
To apply this concept- try doing 10 standing backbends (I call this a microstretch) before, during, and immediately after driving or sitting for an extended period of time. While sitting- use a small towel roll shoved behind your lower back (at the level of the belt line) to keep you up tall. Every hour- be sure to stand up and take your medicine (10 backbends). This will likely help reduce the stiffness you feel when going from a sitting to standing position. Be sure to end the routine with 10 more backbends after you've gotten up.
Hope this helps.
If you're located in the Collegeville, Royersford, Limerick, Phoenixville, or King Of Prussia area and are struggling with lower back pain or sciatica- but can't seem to find relief... call 484-552-3767 now to speak with a Back Pain & Sciatica Specialist.
Did you know that the biggest predictor of whether or not you’ll have lower back surgery is your ZIP CODE? AND people who have an MRI are more likely to have spine surgery. Even more fishy… if the surgeon who recommends the MRI owns the MRI machine, well- the likelihood of spinal surgery increases 34%. – (Lurie, Birkmeyer et al. 2003).
If you live in the Limerick, Royersford, Phoenixville, or Collegeville area… you’re aware that surgery centers (Rothman) are popping up everywhere. And you guessed it… the more surgeons in your area… the more likely you are to have back surgery- NOT COOL… and straight up wrong if you ask me.
With spinal surgery, especially spinal fusions, on the rise… I can’t help but ask myself- What’s going on? Why not PT 1st…
And, I’d be okay with more spine surgery… if research supported that it was the best thing for people with back pain…
Unfortunately, commercials and many surgeons are still recommending fusions despite growing evidence that suggests spinal fusion is NO BETTER THAN conservative treatment (physical therapy).
Spinal fusions were originally performed to help those with severe scoliosis, fractures, and a condition where the spine is unstable (fusing the bones helps make it stable again)… they were not designed to help people with general back pain.
The only true reasons for back surgery are for problems where your nerves are being compromised… losing function- if you notice severe leg weakness or numbness in your leg that is getting worse, or loss of bowel or bladder function. In these cases, back surgery may be used to restore health of the nerve.
Here’s a video I created that chats about when you need back surgery…
I’m consistently amazed by the number of people who have general lower back pain that are recommended to have injections or even surgery as the first step in relieving their back pain or sciatica. Makes no sense.
So why do people continue to get spine surgery and whose fault is it anyway? 3 reasons that I can think of…
1- People think it will be a “quick fix” to their pain.
2- People/society continues to have a “fix me” vs “fix myself” mindset.
3- Healthcare providers not advocating for or educating their patients as they should (lack of time, insurance constraints, MONEY?!)
The takehome? If you’ve got lower back pain- stay active, be informed about your options, and remember- surgeons do surgery!
If you live in the Limerick, Royersford, Phoenixville, Collegeville, Valley Forge, King of Prussia, or Philadelphia area call 484 552 3767 to resolve your back pain naturally.
1. Institute of Report from the Committee on Advancing Pain Research., 2011)
2. Surgical predictors: Lurie JD, Birkmeyer NJ, Weinstein JN. Rates of advanced spinal imaging and spine surgery. Spine. Mar 15 2003;28(6):616-620.
3. Mannion AF, Brox JI, Fairbank JC. Consensus at last! Long-term results of all randomized controlled trials show that fusion is no better than non-operative care in improving pain and disability in chronic low back pain. Spine. 2016;16:588-50
I’ve seen it many times… buttock pain and leg pain treated as if it were a problem in the back… when actually it was a problem in the hip.. ALL ALONG. Hip arthritis is a problem that occurs within the hip joint- causing gradual hip stiffness, pain with sitting or at night, pain with walking or going up the stairs, and groin pain, buttock pain, OR sometimes knee and shin pain.
In a past video post- I discuss some of the telltale signs of hip arthritis… Watch it by clicking below.
.Weakness in the hip muscles can create the hip muscles to become overworked… these hip muscles can send pain down the outside of the leg, into the shin, and even as far as the outer ankle bone. These muscles in the hip have been known to create a “pseudo” OR fake sciatica like pain… that even some of the best PTs and surgeons THINK is really coming from the back…
I treated one lady recently- who went all over town for her chronic buttock pain… she tried chiropractic care, physical therapy, had injections to her back, and was even recommended SURGERY- on her back! … BUT when we saw her- it was clear that the problem was actually coming from her hip.
Here’s what she had to say…
“For over a year I have been unable to walk more than 200 ft without having to stop and stretch to relieve the pain in my hip. I had been unsuccessfully treated for 4 months last year for trochanteric bursitis and osteoarthritis by my primary care doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, and many PTs. I decided to visit Charlie as a final attempt this summmer to find out what was causing my pain and correct the problem.
At my evaluation, Charlie had me walk until I felt the pain. While watching me walk, he noticed that I had gait issues. He prescribed an exercise program and 6 treatment sessions. Happily, by the 5th session, I was dancing at my daughter’s wedding and am now hiking every day with our puppy.” Thomasina
Pretty crazy that this was missed all along…
But, if you know the signs to look out for- then it can be easy to tell the difference between a problem coming from the back and/or from hip arthritis.
Click the blue link below to learn about what types of feelings hip arthritis causes.
If you’ve been dealing with buttock, hip, or leg pain, and everyone’s treating your back- thinking it’s the cause of the problem… and no one has really LOOKED closely at the hip joint- AND you’re not SOLD that your back is the issue- or even worse- have been telling everyone… It’s not coming from my back (but no one will listen)… I hope this post helps you.
If you’re in the Royersford, PA area and think you may have hip arthritis- call 484 552 3767 OR email me directly at email@example.com…
As a physical therapist, one of the things I enjoy is helping people get back to normal. Meet Mark- Mark began having back pain from a herniated disc several months before coming to my office- we actually met at one of my free back pain workshops in Royersford, PA. While his back pain had begun to improve, he started to have pain in the back of his left leg. His leg bothered him when he sat too long, and especially if he tried to touch his toes or run… After 4 weeks and 2 visits he was 95% improved…
Here we are…
Here is what he had to say about his physical therapy experience in Royersford, PA.
My wife and I went to a free workshop that Dr. Charlie hosted and took him up on his offer to give us a free evaluation. I went because I couldn’t even sit in my car without chronic back pain. I was impressed that Dr. Charlie took the time (about an hour session each) needed not only to understand but also to educate me on why my back was malfunctioning. Three sessions later I am pain free! His excellence with heart definitely earns my five stars. Thanks for caring, Dr. Charlie!
Mark had a condition (herniated disc resulting in scarring down of the nerve) that caused the sciatic nerve in the back of his leg to become very limited in motion- causing tightness and pain in the back of his leg when sitting, bending over, or stretching his leg. It was originally caused by a herniated disc in his lower back that occurred after a long car ride (lots of sitting and slouching). While his back pain was much improved by the time he saw me- the healing of his disc caused his nerve to scar down- leaving it with less motion and feelings of tension in the back of his leg.
Through some gentle stretching and exercises for his sciatic nerve and lower back- he’s now able to run, sit, and touch his toes- PAINFREE.
If you’ve got lower back pain or leg pain (sciatica) and you live in Royersford, Limerick, Phoenixville, Collegeville, King of Prussia, or Philadelphia- call 484 552 3767 to get to the root cause, and to start feeling better today.