Surprising Everyday Habits That Are Causing You Sciatica (+ At-Home Tips for Relief) - Cannabotech CBD Oils & Products Articles

Surprising Everyday Habits That Are Causing You Sciatica (+ At-Home Tips for Relief)

Anju Mobin - Writer for Cannabotech
By Anju Mobin
Joel Taylor - writer and editor for Cannabotech
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published April 10, 2023.

Woman sitting on her couch rubbing her lower back and grimacing due to sciatica nerve pain

The largest and longest nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve originates in your lower spine and then branches out into your legs and feet, controlling your lower leg muscles. It also provides sensation to the back of your thigh, lower leg, and sole of the foot.

Certain medical conditions, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, can cause sciatic nerve pain, though it can also be brought on by some seemingly normal everyday habits. Understanding sciatica and the unobvious causal factors is essential to reducing pain from the comfort of your own home.

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The 4 Types of Sciatica and Their Symptoms


This type of sciatica is usually caused by a herniated disc or another injury to the spine. Typically, the affected area has a sudden onset of intense and sharp sciatic pain that may be accompanied by numbness or weakness in the affected leg or foot.

Acute sciatica may last for 1-2 weeks.


If your condition persists for over three months, then it is termed chronic sciatica, and is usually caused by degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis. Although the pain may be less intense than acute sciatica, the constant pain can be debilitating.


Medical conditions such as spinal stenosis or a herniated disc can trigger sciatica pain that alternates between both legs to varying degrees.


A type of sciatica where both legs are affected, bilateral sciatica can be caused by spinal stenosis or a condition that affects the entire spine, such as ankylosing spondylitis.

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Lifestyle Habits That Cause Sciatica

  • Poor Diet Eating highly processed food, saturated fats, sugar, etc., increases inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation can exacerbate pain and accelerate the progression of diseases (1). Additionally, a poor diet leads to weight gain, which puts pressure on the sciatic nerve and can cause sciatica symptoms.
  • Sedentary Behavior When you sit or stand for too long, this can cause stiffness and compression of your spinal discs, which can increase pressure on the sciatic nerve and eventually lead to sciatica.
  • Smoking Smoking causes inflammation in your body and may also decrease blood flow to your spinal area. This can trigger or worsen sciatica symptoms.

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What Can You Do About It?

Behavioural changes in your lifestyle can help reduce inflammation, decrease pressure on the spine, and promote spinal health. Though it may be difficult at first, consistency really is the key to building up habits over time.

Try to improve your diet by adding more whole foods and avoiding processed ones, as well as quitting poor habits like smoking and excessive drinking. This, along with reducing the time you spend sedentary and increasing your exercise, will not only help you reduce sciatica symptoms, but also promote your overall health and well-being.

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Exercise Habits That Cause Sciatica

Even fit and active people may end up with sciatica due to faulty exercise habits, such as the following:

  • Poor posture when exercising
  • Overtraining
  • Not focusing on your core

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What Can You Do About It?

You can do low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling. Such activities promote healing by improving circulation and reducing inflammation. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help release tight muscles contributing to sciatic nerve pain.

Avoid overtraining or pushing yourself too far, as even lifting too many heavy things throughout your day can lead to sciatica. If this is unavoidable, then always ensure that you have the correct posture, such as keeping your back straight and lifting with your legs.

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Sleep Habits That Cause Sciatica

Waking up with aches and pains shouldn't be ignored as a common sign of ageing as poor sleeping posture can trigger or worsen sciatic nerve pain.

What Can You Do About It?

Use a firm mattress as this supports your spine and reduces pressure on your lower back. To relieve pressure on your lower back and hips, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.

Placing a pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees not only relieves pressures on the lower back and hips, but also increases circulation to your legs.

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Other Factors That Could Be Causing Sciatica

Sciatica can occur spontaneously due to trauma or physical stress injury, such as during car accidents, sports injuries, or even falls.

Other than lifestyle habits, sciatica may also develop over time due to seemingly unrelated factors like menstruation or endometriosis.

What Can You Do About It?

  • Cold and heat therapy Try applying hot or cold packs on affected areas to reduce inflammation and ease the pain. Cold therapy is useful for treating swellings, while heat therapy can increase blood flow and promote healing.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers Medications such as ibuprofen can help relieve mild to moderate nerve pain.
  • Topical creams and ointments Many varieties of topical creams and ointments can double as massage oils to help relieve nerve pain.

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Sciatica Pain Can Get Better

Sciatica is often seen as an incurable and debilitating condition, but there are many things you can do at home to find some relief from the pain, such as understanding and identifying the common daily habits you have that are unknowingly causing or exacerbating your sciatic nerve pain and then taking the necessary steps to reducing or even eliminating these habits.