Sciatic pain relief exercises usually involve a combination of stretching, strengthening, as well as aerobic conditioning. It is a central component of close to all sciatica treatment plan. When you engage in a regular program of a variety of gentle exercises you can significantly hasten recovery from sciatica pain. Besides, you are less likely to experience subsequent episodes of pain.
Causes of sciatica
Before reviewing specific sciatic pain relief exercises, it is imperative to appreciate what sciatica means. You should understand that sciatica is a set of symptoms and not a diagnosis in itself. So it describes a set of symptoms around the sciatic nerve. In other definitions, it can be defined as pain caused by compression of one or a set of nerves which exit the lower spine. There are six most common causes of sciatica and they include the following
- Lumbar herniated disc. This usually occurs when the inner content of the disc leaks out through the other core which is fibrous thereby irritating the contiguous nerve route.
- Degenerative disc disease. A certain level of disc degeneration is often natural in humans. However, for some individuals, a degenerated disc in the lower back can cause irritation to a nerve route hence causing sciatica.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis. It occurs when a stressed structure gives room for one vertebral body to flip forward on another. For instance, the L5 can flip over the S1 vertebra. This combination of disc space collapsed together with the fracture and the vertebral body slipping to the front, it is possible for the nerve to get pinched thus leading to sciatica.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis. Here, sciatica comes about when the spinal canal becomes narrower than usual. It is often common in aging individuals. precisely, the combination may come out due to the following reasons: overgrowth of the soft tissues, enlarged facets, or a bulging disc putting pressure on the nerve route thus leading to sciatica.
- Piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle is found in the buttocks. When the sciatic nerve runs under it, it getst irritated thus causing a sciatica-like pain.
Examples of Sciatica Pain Relief Exercises
Sciatica pain relief exercises often put focus or three key areas including stretching, aerobics, and strengthening. Let’s look at each of the above
There are a variety of sciatica pain relief exercises that can considerably help to strengthen the spinal column together with the supporting tendons, ligaments as well as muscles. A number of these exercises of the back target the abdominal muscles together with the gluteus muscles and the lower back. Certain strong core muscles can be a great relief to pain since they support the spine and keeping it in alignment. This is crucial in facilitating movements which extend the spine giving less chance of damage and trauma.
Stretching still remains among the top most recommended sciatica pain relief exercises for alleviating sciatic pain. These stretches help focus on muscles that cause pain when they become inflexible and tight. Certain forms of stretching including hamstring stretching is a critical component of a sciatica exercise program. Important as they are, it is regrettable that most individuals do not stretch these muscles which stretch from the pelvis to the knees in the region at the back of the thigh.
Even more important yet often ignored is the bird dog move. This exercise involves getting on your hands and knees before extending your arm and the opposite leg. You then alternate the extension of the arm and leg multiple times until you feel a bit exhausted. There is even a more advanced version of this exercise referred to as the plank dog move. Here you do the exercise when you are at the plank position of your hands and toes.
Low impact aerobic exercises
There exists a whole list of low impact cardiovascular exercises ranging from swimming, walking, or even pool therapy. This is a critical component of the recovery process since aerobic activities are excellent in encouraging the exchange of fluids and nutrients hence helping your body to create a better healing environment. Aerobic conditioning has another benefit of releasing endorphins which acts as the natural painkiller in the body. this takes you a long way in ensuring the sciatic pain is alleviated significantly. You can choose to do these types of exercises separately or even in combination. Some of the exercise which may encompass both stretching and strengthening include yoga, Pilates, and even tai chi.
If you have chronic pain or a considerably high level of sciatic pain, water therapy is one of the best options for gently exercises. Aquatic therapy combined with a progressive exercising program can greatly help in reducing chronic levels of sciatica pain.
Relieving sciatica pain is easy with the employment of various sciatica pain relief exercises. However, sometimes you may find the pain hard to bear and thus remain with the option of seeing a professional. Do not hesitate when it reaches this point.