Best Exercises for Sciatica
There are exercises that are aimed at helping with a certain pain in the body, and people are often surprised by just how effective exercises and stretches can be in easing pain and providing some relief. The same goes for sciatica pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a pain in the hip, back, and outer side of the leg, and more people experience it than you might think. It is normally caused by a herniated disc or bone spur in the spine that is pressing against the nerve.
Pain will begin in the spine and then radiate down the back of the leg. Usually, it’s only found on one side of the body, and there are medications available for treatment. However, exercise can be quite effective and is free, which is an added bonus, of course.
Best Exercises That Help Relieve Sciatic Pain
There are several exercises that you will find useful, and we’ll take a look at them and give you some pointers on how to do them effectively. These exercises come from yoga poses and are great for not only helping with pain but also improving body health.
The following exercises are low-impact to keep things easy and won’t risk injury.
The Pelvic Tilt
This stretch stretches your lower back and also strengthens your lower abdominal muscles.
You will start off by lying down on your back on a mat or soft rug. Exhale and then tighten your abdominal muscles while you push your belly button towards the floor. Also, flatten your back. You should hold this position for about 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
The Knee to Chest Stretch
The purpose of this one is to alleviate lower back pain by reducing nerve compression.
Again, you will start by lying on your back. You will then lift your right (or left) knee by using your hands to pull the bent knee gently towards your chest. Keep this position for 10 seconds, then repeat with the other knee. You should repeat this exercise 3 or 4 times.
Lower Trunk Rotation
Did you know you have a lower trunk? Now you do! It’s just another word for lower torso, which most of us know. This stretch increases the spine’s mobility and flexibility.
You will start this by, you guessed it, lying on your back. You will have both your knees bent upright and your feet on the floor. Keep your knees together and rotate them to one side and hold that position for about 5 seconds.
You should feel stretching on the opposite side of your lower back, as well as the hip area. Then, contract your abdominal muscles (keep them engaged) and rotate to the other side. Again, hold the position for about 5 seconds. Repeat this 10 times on each side.
Opposite Arm and Leg Extensions on All Fours
This stretch is all about strengthening your abdominal muscles and lower back.
You will start this exercise on all fours and contract those abdominal muscles to help you keep your back straight and flat. Then, you will lift one leg behind you and straighten it outward. Hold the position for about 5 seconds.
Repeat on the other side and do this exercise about 10 times total. Now, you need to add the arm extensions. For the arms, extend them upward and outward and keep them there for about 5 seconds.
The Sitting Spinal Stretch
This stretch is aimed at relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve.
For this one, you will sit on the ground and extend your legs in front of you with your feet flexed upward. You will then bend your left knee and put your foot on the floor on the outside of your right knee.
Put your right elbow on the outside of your left knee so your body gently turns. Hold that position for about 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Do the same with the other side of your body.
How Will These Stretches Help Sciatic Pain?
Exercise and stretches do so much for our bodies, but we don’t always realize it. As you will learn on the Yoga Burn Challenge website, a quick 15-minute fitness routine can make a world of difference. When it comes to exercises that relieve pain, you will find that just a few minutes can make a difference.
Not only do we get a healthier body when we exercise, but we release endorphins, as well. These are the hormones that help reduce pain by interacting with pain receptors in the brain.
The stretches discussed here are aimed at targeting the abdominal and spinal muscles that are on the receiving side of Sciatic pain, helping to reduce pain.
Can You Get Hurt By Exercising When You Have Sciatic Pain?
Anything is possible, so it is advised that you get your doctor’s opinion before doing anything to address the pain that doesn’t involve prescribed medication. When you do have permission, keep to a slow pace that is comfortable for you. After all, this is about you and relieving your pain.
Sadly, it is unrealistic to expect sciatica pain to be resolved by exercising regularly. The stretches merely help to relieve the worst of it, and you should not use exercise as an alternative to medication or medical care. It is good to combine treatment with exercise to help your body with dealing with the pain, but it is not a permanent solution.
Be gentle when it comes to your spine and keep your expectations of pain relief reasonable. If you find that exercises make your pain worse, do not continue. If you experience numbness, tingling sensations, or weakness, stop the exercises and contact your doctor. You should never take risks when it comes to your body and your health.
Living your everyday life with pain and discomfort from a pinched nerve is not fun. But you can find some relief. There is hope. This will be a long road, and you must continue your stretches and exercises. There will be times where your body is in too much pain to go on so don’t push yourself too hard. Also, don’t forget to consult your doctor. You might also want to see a physical therapist. Hope this helps. Good luck!