Everybody needs to exercise regularly to enjoy great health. While it might seem not to make a lot of sense, you also need it when you have sciatica. It forms a crucial part of treatment program for full recovery from pain radiating down the leg. The sciatica exercises are simple and could be performed at home.
We discuss here reasons why sciatica exercises are beneficial. You will also find some of those that a specialist may suggest for dealing with sciatica pain.
How Do Sciatica Exercises Help
For someone experiencing pain, being asked to exercise might sound strange. The fact that you don’t exercise regularly enough can be a reason why you have sciatica. You may be surprised to learn that exercise is often more effective than bed rest for dealing with the pain.
The abdominal and spinal muscles are crucial for the health of your spine. They provide necessary support. You have to get these muscles busy for them to continue functioning optimally. Otherwise, they get de-conditioned and unable to provide adequate support for the spine. This can lead to pain.
With exercise, you can improve the conditioning of these muscles. The movements involved promote greater nutrient. The fluid availability within the spinal discs to enhance their health and guard against harmful pressure on the sciatic nerve.
As a result, exercise can both provide relief and prevent recurrence of pain. The ideal exercises are tailored to each patient according to the underlying cause of sciatica.
You can find below some of the exercises that are commonly suggested for dealing with the painful symptoms.
This yoga routine is one of the most common sciatica exercises for relieving sciatica symptoms. Pigeon pose helps to extend the thoracic spine. It is very useful in relieving symptoms around the hips, among other benefits.
There are different variants of this exercise, including reclining pigeon pose, forward pigeon pose, and sitting pigeon pose.
Reclining pigeon pose is ideal if you are new to the routine. To do this, here are the steps:
- Lie on your back and lift your right leg to form a right angle, locking the fingers of both hands behind the thigh.
- Raise the other leg and place the right ankle on it, using the left knee for support.
- Hold the position for a while.
- Repeat the process with the other leg.
This type of pigeon pose helps to stretch the piriformis muscle, which may become inflamed and pinch the sciatic nerve.
This exercise helps to stretch your low back. It also strengthens the lower abdominal muscles.
Pelvic tilt is very easy to perform. Here’s how:
- Lie on your back and tighten your abdominal muscles while breathing out.
- Flatten your lower back and hold the position for about 5 seconds
You can repeat this several times for as long as you can endure without aggravating your pain. Make sure to hold the position each time for about 5 seconds.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring stretching is beneficial for relieving most types of sciatica caused by different factors. Many people underuse these muscles found in the back of the thigh. This can make them become tight, increasing pressure on the lower back.
Standing hamstring stretch can help to reduce the tightness and, so, provide leg pain relief. The following are the steps involved:
- Raise your right foot by placing on a surface at or just below your hip levels, such as the edge of a chair or bench.
- Flex the foot to straighten your leg and toes.
- Slightly bend your right knee and gently lean forward from your hips, as further as you can go without aggravating the pain while keeping your back straight.
- Hold the position for about 30 seconds and feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
- Switch your legs and repeat the process.
Knee to Chest
You can reduce pressure on your sciatic nerve with this simple exercise. It helps around to loosen your piriformis and gluteal muscles to relieve pain.
Here’s how you do it:
- Lie on your back and extend your legs while flexing your feet upward.
- Clasp your hands around either of your knees and gently pull toward your chest as far as you can handle.
- Hold the position for 10-30 seconds, and then do the same with the other knee.
Do this exercise about five times. You can also perform the same with both knees afterward, holding for 10-30 seconds each time.
The knee to chest routine is often done as a warm-up before exercising.
Lower body rotations can enhance the mobility of the spine. They can also improve flexibility and strengthen your lower abdominal muscles.
The following are the steps you can follow to perform trunk rotations:
- Lie on your back with both of your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Rest your arms at ease away from your sides.
- Hold both knees together and rotate them to one side.
- Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Contract your abdominal muscles, rotate your knees to the other side and maintain the position for 3 to 5 seconds.
You can repeat the trunk rotations for up to 10 times, or as many times you find it comfortable to do. The exercise helps to stretch the lower back and hip area on the opposite sides.
Can You Get Hurt Doing These Exercises
You may be concerned that exercises may aggravate the pain you are feeling. Actually, you are not wrong to feel that way. It is perfectly sensible.
It is advisable that you work with a spine specialist if you are considering doing any exercise to improve your sciatica symptoms. For instance, you may not be as flexible as one of those guys performing the exercises on TV or YouTube.
And if you try to force it, you may come off worse. Any hint of pain while trying to perform any exercise is a sign for you to stop.
Guidance by a chiropractor, physical therapist, or other health professionals will be useful before deciding on any exercise for sciatica. These people have the knowledge to determine the best ones, depending on the underlying cause. They can also teach you how to do the sciatica exercises at home.