Student with Sciatica? 4 Strategies for Completing Your College Courses

student with sciatica

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  • If you’re a college student struggling with sciatica, distance courses can help you keep your education on track.

    Taken online, these courses allow you to participate from your home or dorm.

    This eliminates the need to travel to class on days where your pain makes walking feel impossible.

    If your college doesn’t offer all of your courses online, you may still have to make your way around campus for some classes. Here are some tips for doing so more easily and with less pain.

    Visit the Doc

    College isn’t typically a time of financial excess, so a doctor may seem like an unnecessary expense. It’s not. Your doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatories and other medications to ease your sciatic-nerve pain. In some cases, massage and physical therapies keep sciatica pain at bay, as can chiropractic care.

    Once your pain is better controlled, your doctor can help you find continued relief with free or low-cost options like strengthening exercises and stretches. Some sciatica patients find relief by simply applying ice or heat to their lower back for 20 minutes every two hours. Your doctor may have even more helpful suggestions, so go see him or her.

    Get Some Backup

    Even well-controlled sciatica flares now and then, so have a plan. Talk to your professors about getting class materials or extra help when you have to miss a class. Many will happily provide you with their PowerPoint slides or a few lecture notes.

    Find a classmate who takes good notes and ask them to share their notes with you if you miss a class. Planning ahead lets you minimize the disruption if you do miss an occasional class.

    Find Some Comfort

    When you do make it to class, make sure you can stay there by finding a comfortable position. Avoid crossing your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor. You may find that you need to sit on a cushion or bring a pillow for extra back support. Some people find it most comfortable to lie down during a sciatica flair, so consider carrying a thin blanket. Of course, you may also need to talk to your professor about how you can find a comfortable position without being a disruption. Sciatica is often eased by alternating between sitting and standing every 10 to 15 minutes, for example. If you need to do this, your professor may ask that you sit in the back of the room so as not to disturb others.

    other valuable tips:

    Gear Up

    Help yourself by grabbing the right college gear. If you’re living in the dorm, spring for your own mattress or a supportive mattress pad to give you the best support possible. Wear supportive shoes when walking around campus and consider a backpack with wheels to reduce the load you must carry. When you do wear a backpack, keep it as light as possible and make sure you wear both straps—don’t just sling your bag over one shoulder.

    If you suffer sciatica on campus, talk to your doctor and take whatever steps you can to make life more comfortable. If your sciatica was caused by a personal injury, talk to an attorney and see what help and support they can provide. With the right help and a solid plan, you can make sue sciatica doesn’t get between you and your educational goals.

    Image Credit: Pixabay

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