Sciatica Series: 25. Going from Sit to Stand with Sciatica/Back Pain from Bed or Toilet

Your back is very vulnerable in the mornings, because the discs in your back have been taking in fluid all night (imbibing). This additional fluid makes the disc more vulnerable to bulging, herniation, etc.

When getting up from bed, your back should be in a locked-in position with the Scurve. Use the alignment broom handle to make sure you are doing it correctly. Your back should be stationary, and all movement should be coming from your hips.

Legs should be wide apart and feet should be placed underneath you. Lean forward while bending at the hips. Use a broomstick (or BOOYAH Stik) to practice keeping your back straight. The stick should have 3 points of contact if done correctly, which include the back of your head, mid back, and pelvis.

If need be, use grab bars (if available) to push up with arms. If you don’t have grab bars, try placing your hands on the end of your thighs (by your knees) to push up.

Practice going from sit to stand. When you go from sit to stand your back pain should not increase. If pain does increase, adjust your form. Put more of an arch in your low back or less. Try tightening your abdomen muscles while performing the task (poke your fingers into each side of your abdomen to make sure the muscles are tightened).

Practicing Squats: A broomstick or BOOYAH Stik is helpful for alignment. First, squat with the stick in place. The stick should have 3 points of contact if done correctly (back of head, mid back, and pelvis). Assess your knee position. Your knees should be aligned with your feet (not in or not out). Your knees should remain over your feet (half-way between the heel and toes). Do not allow your knees to move ahead of your toes.

It is helpful to stretch your overhead arm as far above your head as possible to give a sensation of stretching and straightening the spine. All motion should come from your hips. Bend forward as deep as your hips allow and repeat 5 times. Make sure your glutes (butt muscles) are working and contracting. If you have pain in your back while performing this exercise, try tightening your abdomen at the same time.

How do you tell if you are tightening your abdomen? Take a single finger from each hand and poke yourself on each side of your abdomen (belly). Tighten up your abdomen. When doing it correctly you should be able to feel it with your fingers.

If you still have increased pain in your back with the locked-in position, try adjusting the arch in your low back (more or less). Re-tighten your abdomen and try bending forward again. If this still increases your back pain, try to not bend forward as far.

It will be easier for you to get up from a raised surface. Avoid soft couches and recliners where you sink in. It is also easier to use a raised toilet seat or a commode with handles (see image).

For some people with back pain it is easier for them to straddle the toilet and use it backwards by lowering their butt onto the seat. This technique allows the person to hang on to the tank for support.

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