Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

By Amy McGorry Like bears coming out of hibernation, many of us are shaking off the winter rust and enjoying outdoor sports. Sometimes adjustments in your workout routine (e.g., changing to outdoor surfaces or reintroduction to seasonal sports) can leave you with aches and pains. One such ache might be a back twinge known as sciatica, which can cause pain to shoot down your leg. The good news? Studies show the majority of sciatica sufferers respond to conservative treatment within a few weeks. Read on to see how to prevent and relieve sciatica pain. When Sciatica Is A Pain The sciatic nerve runs from the lower spine to the buttocks and down through the legs and into the feet. It supplies sensation and strength to leg and foot muscles. The nerve can become irritated if it gets “pinched” from a tight muscle (such as the piriformis muscle in the buttocks) or a herniated or bulging disc in the back. Structural issues related to the pelvis and spine — such as stenosis or spondylolisthesis — can also trigger sciatica. Sciatica typically affects one leg. Sufferers may feel sharp pain, numbness, tingling and possibly weakness along the leg, calf and/or toes. If bowel or bladder incontinence or a “foot drop” occurs (so you can’t lift your foot up), get to the doctor ASAP. Surgery is sometimes necessary to alleviate pressure when the structure pressing on the nerve won’t let up. Why You’re Sidelined Sciatica often rears its ugly head when muscle imbalances are present. Tight, short muscles in the front of your thigh (psoas, quadriceps) can keep muscles in the back of your hips from properly doing their job. This scenario can cause an unbalanced tug-of-war between your weak and strong muscles, resulting in your spine not being supported efficiently. Consequently, the muscles surrounding the spine and your vertebral discs may place pressure on the sciatic nerve, irritating it. Driving also literally becomes a “pain in the butt” to deal with. Sitting on tight muscles that an irritated sciatic nerve runs through can trigger painful zingers in the leg and make being stuck in traffic even more unbearable.
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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

Kovacs emphasizes that you should not assume that you’ll be as flexible as the exercises ideally call for. “Don’t think that because of what you see on YouTube or TV that you can get into these positions,” he says. “Most people who demonstrate the exercises have great flexibility and have been doing it for years. If you have any kind of pain, you should stop.” Corina Martinez, a physical therapist at Duke Sports Medicine Center and member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, says that there is no one-size-fits-all exercise for people who have sciatic nerve pain. She suggests adjusting the positions slightly, such as pulling your knees in more or less, and noticing how they feel. “If one feels better, that is the treatment you want to pursue,” she advises. Martinez says that anyone experiencing even mild sciatic nerve pain for more than a month should see a doctor or physical therapist. They may find relief with an in-home exercise program tailored specifically to their pain. The first line of intervention for sciatica should definitely be physical therapy because it is active, it is educational, and the primary goal is to restore function and make each patient independent.The clue is to find experienced, manual trained physical therapists who combine an understanding of alignment, movement, and therapeutic exercise, and who set up a clear plan of care to reach measurable goals. After that, what’s left is to actively participate in the program! – Mindy Marantz, PT, MS, GCFP
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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

Due to varying the causes of sciatica, there is no cookie cutter recipe to improve it. The exercises provided above do nothing to improve pain associated with it. I would recommend someone who has sciatic symptoms to read Treat your Own back by Robin Mckenzie (which you can get for $10 on amazon) to determine if you can self-treat your sciatica, or if you need further evaluation by a professional.
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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

Karl Sarceno PT, Cert MDT Nov 07, 2016 – 14:08 # Due to varying the causes of sciatica, there is no cookie cutter recipe to improve it. The exercises provided above do nothing to improve pain associated with it. I would recommend someone who has sciatic symptoms to read Treat your Own back by Robin Mckenzie (which you can get for $10 on amazon) to determine if you can self-treat your sciatica, or if you need further evaluation by a professional.
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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

Like bears coming out of hibernation, many of us are shaking off the winter rust and enjoying outdoor sports. Sometimes adjustments in your workout routine (e.g., changing to outdoor surfaces or reintroduction to seasonal sports) can leave you with aches and pains. One such ache might be a back twinge known as sciatica, which can cause pain to shoot down your leg. The good news? Studies show the majority of sciatica sufferers respond to conservative treatment within a few weeks.
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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

With the right stretching and strengthening exercises, you can absolutely relieve and eliminate sciatica. Add these exercises into your warm-up and cool-down routine for long-term maintenance, and you should be able to get back to your active lifestyle without pain.
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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

Before beginning any exercise program, patients should see a health professional to get a correct diagnosis for their pain and to rule out any more serious problems. The proper exercises differ based on the condition that is causing the sciatic pain, so patients should not try to self-treat their sciatica before consulting a health professional.
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Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises

Caring for sciatica should be considered part of one’s daily living, not just something to add to the routine at the end of the day. In addition to an exercise routine, patients with sciatica should minimize everyday stress on the lower back, including using appropriate ergonomics while lifting, maintaining good posture, making sure the lower back is supported while sitting, and avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time.
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Stretching exercises can help reduce sciatic pain. Your sciatic nerve runs through your piriformis, a muscle located deep in your glutes. If the piriformis gets too tight, it can impinge the sciatic nerve, causing pain, tingling, and numbness in your leg. Sometimes, stretching your piriformis may be enough to reduce the pain. Four exercises to try include the following. For illustrations demonstrating each stretch, please see the featured article in Mind Body Green:7

Story at-a-glance – Opioid drugs are typically prescribed as a first line treatment for back pain, even though these drugs have now surpassed both heroin and cocaine as the leading cause of fatal drug overdoses in the US When back pain strikes, try to relax your back and your mind. Applying ice can be helpful, as can getting acupuncture or chiropractic care, and taking anti-inflammatory herbs. Other long-term solutions are discussed Sciatic pain is often related to compression of the lumbar spine, and exercises designed to lengthen your spine are a good first measure. Exercises to stretch your piriformis muscle can also help
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Opioid drugs are typically prescribed as a first line treatment for back pain, even though these drugs have now surpassed both heroin and cocaine as the leading cause of fatal drug overdoses in the US When back pain strikes, try to relax your back and your mind. Applying ice can be helpful, as can getting acupuncture or chiropractic care, and taking anti-inflammatory herbs. Other long-term solutions are discussed Sciatic pain is often related to compression of the lumbar spine, and exercises designed to lengthen your spine are a good first measure. Exercises to stretch your piriformis muscle can also help
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Dr. Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, adds that the best way to alleviate most sciatica pain is to do “any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.”
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This simple stretch helps relieve sciatica pain by loosening your gluteal and piriformis muscles, which can become inflamed and press against the sciatic nerve. Lie on your back with your legs extended and your feet flexed upward. Bend your right leg and clasp your hands around the knee. Gently pull your right leg across your body toward your left shoulder. Hold it there for 30 seconds. Remember to pull your knee only as far as it will comfortably go. You should feel a relieving stretch in your muscle, not pain. Push your knee so your leg returns to its starting position. Repeat for a total of 3 reps, and then switch legs.
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This stretch can help ease pain and tightness in the hamstring caused by sciatica. Place your right foot on an elevated surface at or below your hip level. This could be a chair, ottoman, or step on a staircase. Flex your foot so your toes and leg are straight. If your knee tends to hyperextend, keep a slight bend in it. Bend your body forward slightly toward your foot. The further you go, the deeper the stretch. Do not push so far that you feel pain. Release the hip of your raised leg downward as opposed to lifting it up. If you need help easing your hip down, loop a yoga strap or long exercise band over your right thigh and under your left foot. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

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