When you were young, if you complained that your back hurt, your parents would say something along the lines of "You have no idea! Just wait 'til you're older!"
Although we may have scoffed at this quip in our younger years, once we became adults ourselves, we realized the truth. Back pain plagues many people, especially as they get older. In fact, back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world, affecting eight out of 10 people.
A common form of back pain is sciatica, which can affect the body all the way from the lower back down through the legs. If you've ever experienced sciatica or know someone who has, you probably know just how debilitating it can be, particularly in severe cases.
In today's guide, we're here to offer some relief! We're talking about how footwear can help relieve the symptoms of sciatica and what shoes you should try to ease the pain. In fact, our shoes just might continue to change your life even after the sciatica is gone.
So let's get right into it.
Sciatica is characterized by pain around the lower back, buttocks, and thigh, where the sciatic nerve is located.
In most cases, sciatica only affects one side of the body, which can help make it easier to self-diagnose the problem and weed out other forms of back pain. However, sciatica may be indicative of other medical problems.
Although the sciatic nerve stretches from the lower back through the buttocks and thigh, you might not feel pain over that entire area. The pain can be localized to only one part of the nerve, such as your lower back, or it could cause the entire area and your feet to experience pain.
The pain you may feel can vary greatly in terms of strength. In some cases, sciatic pain can be mild, but in other cases, it can be severe and debilitating. It can feel like an ache, a sharp pain, or a burning sensation.
The inflammation, irritation, or pinching sensation you experience may last for prolonged periods, be short, acute instances of pain, or happen only after prolonged physical activity or sitting.
Sciatica isn't all pain. In some cases, numbness accompanies pain across different parts of the affected area.
Whether you're feeling numbness, pain, or a bit of both, any unusual sensation around the sciatic nerve should be a sign to start seeking medical attention.
With over 3 million cases per year in the US, not to mention the rest of the world, it's clear that anyone suffering from sciatica isn't alone. So what exactly causes such a common condition?
Herniated or slipped discs and bone spurs are the most common causes of sciatica.
As far as what leads to a herniated disk or bone spur, things such as physical activity levels, physical fitness, posture, prolonged sitting, and even diabetes seem to play a role in sciatica risk levels, although evidence is lacking in some areas.
Injury can also contribute to developing sciatica. You might experience sciatica shortly after injury, such as from a car accident, but it could also occur much later down the road.
Most cases of sciatica can be self-diagnosed and treated at home with fairly non-intrusive methods. Symptom relief is the primary goal of treatment, as well as avoiding activity that could worsen the situation.
One of the most basic ways to relieve symptoms is by icing the area in pain. Physical therapy and stretching are also used to help ease pain and treat sciatica over time.
Anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve sciatica pain, too. Over-the-counter medications that reduce pain and swelling are commonly found and used to treat sciatica, but they may not be for everyone.
Professional medical treatment or surgery are only necessary in the most extreme cases.
Generally, sciatica resolves itself with basic home treatment to mitigate symptoms after a few weeks or months.
While most cases of sciatica only last a few weeks or months, this period can feel like a lifetime when every day is plagued with pain and discomfort.
While experiencing sciatica, every possible source of relief and treatment is a welcome aid. Icing your back, practicing gentle stretches, and seeking medication are great steps, but you can take things even further by making lifestyle changes to ease the stress on affected areas.
For many of us, that's easier said than done. Fast-paced, active lifestyles can be strenuous and demand a lot from our bodies.
A regular day might start in the gym and progress through a lengthy commute to an active job, followed by time outdoors or out on the town with friends in the evening. Not to mention that you have chores that need to be done around the house, dogs that need to be walked, or errands that need to be run.
This kind of day is challenging on its own, but it's even more difficult with back pain caused by sciatica.
Bringing an ice pack to work may not be a particularly practical solution, and stopping for a quick yoga session probably isn't a great look in the middle of the supermarket.
What can help with sciatica throughout your day, however, are Kizik shoes.
One of the most common pain triggers for sciatica is bending over. With typical shoes, this is going to pose a serious problem, as every time you need to put on your shoes or take them off, a world of pain awaits. When your active lifestyle involves this process a dozen or so times a day, that daily pain can take a toll.
At Kizik, our HandsFree Labs® technology means you can slip your shoes on and off with ease, and without having to bend over! Simply step into a pair of Kizik Athens, Kizik Pragues, or one of our other hands-free styles and let the innovative technology do the rest.
There's no need to worry about untying your shoes and tying them again with our HandsFree Labs® technology. This can be a huge boon to those with sciatica or other medical conditions where it can be painful to bend over.
Other "slip-on" shoes tend to have issues with holding their shape when you slip them on. Sure, you can get your foot in the shoe, but the material gets crushed half the time, and you have to bend down to adjust it anyway. With our technology, the heel simply bends as your foot goes in or out, and then it snaps back into shape afterward.
We also ensure each shoe is made with high-quality, durable material inside and out, built to hold up to plenty of use, so you'll have that hands-free freedom for millions of steps to come.
Making it easy to put on your shoes and take them off is just half of the equation. The other half is making sure every step you take is as comfortable as possible.
The last thing you want to do when you have sciatica is to put your life on pause. You should be able to move around freely and continue your active lifestyle with as little pain or hindrance as possible.
At Kizik, we've got features in place to help. Our shoes are built with soft, removable insoles, which provide an extra cushy padding for the bottom of your foot.
Insoles, if you didn't know, are the part of a shoe that makes direct contact with your foot, or at least your socks. This means insoles are the first line of defense between your foot and whatever uneasy terrain lies beneath them. It's essential that insoles are comfortable and responsive, especially when one wrong step could trigger intense pain.
At Kizik, we believe in teamwork, so we didn't leave our insoles alone in this effort. While the insoles provide comfort to the bottom of your foot, the outsoles (on the bottom of your shoe) protect you from the terrain directly.
Most shoes use solid rubber or other synthetic outsoles, but Kiziks are innovative one step further. Our Rabbit Foam™ outsoles are made with advanced technology designed to absorb even the most uncomfortable steps with ease. We'd compare it to walking on clouds.
The added feature of rubber traction pods ensures you won't be slipping or sliding around, which reduces any chance of awkward steps and positions that might trigger your sciatica pain.
Give them a try today to see how HandsFree Labs® technology and Rabbit Foam™ outsoles, plus other innovative features, could change your life.
For more information about shoes, feel free to check out our blog. It's full of info on shoe care, how to find the perfect shoe fit, and so much more.