Sciatica is a chronic condition often caused by the narrowing of the spine, bone spurs, or a herniated disk. It typically gets better within a few weeks despite being painful, but it might come back over time. So, what aggravates sciatica nerve? Various otherwise common activities are often the culprits of recurring sciatica pain, from sitting too much to wearing heels.

This article will discuss the signs, reasons, the typical actions that might be causing your sciatica and, ultimately, the steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort you’re experiencing consistently.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Here are signs often linked with sciatica:

  • Pain travels from your lower back/spine to your butt and down the leg
  • From a slight pain to a sharp, burning pain in the affected area
  • Pain intensifies when you sneeze or cough
  • Experience of numbness
  • Feeling of tingling
  • Loss of strength in muscles
  • Pain, usually on one side of the body

Commonly, you feel pain in the lower back and butt, and some may feel it down one or both legs. The intensity of sciatica pain can vary greatly: it might seem like a dull ache or result in intense shooting pains that are nearly unbearable.

Causes of Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain have different causes.

Sciatica is a chronic condition with many potential reasons, often involving bone spurs, herniated discs, or pinched nerves. Sometimes, though quite infrequently, the discomfort is associated with diabetes and tumors located in the affected region.

Older individuals with obesity, prolonged sitting, diabetes, or physically demanding jobs with frequent bending are at an increased risk of developing sciatica over their lifespan. Approximately 40% of the population is expected to encounter sciatica at some point.

What Aggravates Sciatica Nerve?

Uncomfortable Shoes and High Heels

Fans of fancy footwear: if you’ve got sciatica and cannot seem to shake the pain, your high heels may be causing you discomfort. High heels alter your weight distribution by putting pressure on the front of your foot and forcing your hips forward.

Walking or standing for a long time with your pelvis thrust forward stresses your hamstrings, causing them to stretch. Because of the proximity of the sciatic nerve to the hamstrings, persistent stretching and pressure may eventually damage the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Uncomfortable shoes that lack cushioning can be tough on both your feet and hamstrings.

At the very least, consider wearing shoes that provide built-in support, steer clear of heels, and avoid non-supportive options like flip-flops. Additionally, you can buy shoe inserts specifically crafted for individuals experiencing sciatica.

Carrying Items in Your Back Pockets

Sciatica pain may be triggered by several factors.

Carrying your phone, wallet, or other large items in your back pockets regularly might unintentionally cause sciatica. While not officially recognized as a cause, many people experiencing it have termed it “back-pocket sciatica” and “cell phone sciatica.”

When you sit with things in your back pocket, they may exert undue pressure on your piriformis muscle, situated right next to your sciatic nerve.

Tight Pants

Do you frequently wear snug and body-hugging pants, skirts, or shorts? Surprisingly, this could result in undesired sciatica discomfort. Excessively snug bottoms exert significant pressure on your hips, buttocks, legs, and sometimes even your lower back and spine. The continual compression in these regions stresses the sciatic nerve and adjacent areas, initiating pain and discomfort. You don’t need to overhaul your entire wardrobe! Just ensure nothing fits so tightly that it’s pressing into you or causing pain.

Sitting Too Much

Sitting for extended periods may trigger or worsen sciatic pain. Sitting puts significant pressure on your glute muscles, lower back, and sciatic nerves. Moving around provides a break for your sciatic nerve, an opportunity to stretch, and encourages blood flow to the region. If your work involves sitting at a desk, try a standing desk.

Get up and take a short walk around your workplace every hour. You can also spend some of your lunch break walking alone or with a colleague. Even at work, take a couple of minutes to perform leg and back stretches, promoting blood circulation and alleviating tightness in your lower body.

Lifting with Your Back

What aggravates sciatica nerve?

Stooping to pick up heavier items, like handling groceries or lifting your child, puts substantial stress on your lower back discs. If these discs get strained, the likelihood of herniation rises, potentially squeezing the sciatic nerve. This situation may necessitate treatment for sciatica.


The piriformis muscle is found in the buttock area, which can cause spasms and something called piriformis syndrome. These spasms compress the sciatic nerve, which often occurs during pregnancy. The weight of a developing fetus can lead to pressure in the groin, shifting the pelvis forward and causing the piriformis muscle to tighten. It is not uncommon for pregnant women to experience sciatica as a secondary symptom of piriformis syndrome.

Diet: Do Certain Foods Trigger Sciatica?

Based on various studies, having a diet lacking nutrients or leading to potential weight gain can result in various health problems, like sciatic nerve pain and inflammation. It’s crucial to include foods with abundant B vitamins for maintaining healthy nerve tissue. We lose essential nutrients, including B vitamins, when opting for refined grain items. To guarantee our diet is rich in nutrients, we prefer whole grains instead of refined options, like white bread, quick-cooked rice, fortified pasta, cereals with low fiber, and baked items made with white baking or cake flour.

Added sugars are ingredients that add calories and sweet flavor to foods. However, they offer very few nutrients. These are also high-glycemic, and they may considerably impact blood sugar levels. A diet high in glycemic content may cause more inflammation and limit the space for helpful, anti-inflammatory foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Foods and drinks with added sugars, like regular soft drinks, pancake syrup, candy, frosting, sweetened cereals, frozen desserts, and commercially prepared cakes, cookies, pies, and brownies, can contribute to this effect.

Saturated fats can also boost inflammation. The American Heart Association advises keeping saturated fat intake under 7 percent of total daily calories. Common sources of saturated fats include processed and red meats, dark poultry meat, poultry skin, high-fat dairy products, fried foods, and egg yolks.

Healthcare professionals advise swapping saturated fats in your diet with healthy fats or omega-3 fatty acids possessing anti-inflammatory properties to alleviate sciatica. Omega-3 sources include cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel, flaxseeds, canola oil, and walnuts.

Trans-fats, or trans-fatty acids, are artificially created fats that may raise LDL or “bad” cholesterol and lower HDL or “good” cholesterol. Studies suggest that trans-fats are inflammatory substances and can make up less than 1 percent of the calories in a diet that’s good for the heart. Everyday trans-fat sources are products like stick margarine, shortening, and processed foods mentioning hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient.

Being Overweight and Inactive

If you carry extra weight and skip exercise, recurring sciatica pain is quite common. Additional pounds, especially around the middle, exert pressure on the pelvis and the lower back.

A lack of physical activity makes sciatica pain worse over time. If you stay still and never let your body become stronger and more flexible, you’re doing yourself a significant disfavor.

Being inactive may also cause sciatica pain.

Creating an exercise plan, shedding a few pounds, and adding stretching to your weekly routine can alleviate pain and trigger your sciatica less frequently.

When you manage your sciatica and do things to avoid triggering pain, it requires some experimentation to find what works for you. Testing the above choices is an excellent starting point when you’ve tried other solutions, and something needs to be more effective.

If your sciatica is still causing a lot of trouble and you’re unsure why, consider visiting a chiropractor specializing in sciatica, like us here at Heart of Texas Chiropractic (HOT). Around 90% of individuals with sciatica will naturally recover without additional medical involvement.

Free yourself from pain and discomfort! Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

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