Physiotherapy Exercises for Sciatica

If you don’t know what sciatic pain is but just call it ‘evil leg demon’, it may be time to educate yourself on sciatica so you can pursue the best available treatment options. Sciatica is no joke, and if you’re over 40, chances are you have already felt its pinch. The pain runs along the sciatic nerve from your lower back down the back of one or both legs, making ordinary tasks like getting out of bed excruciating adventures in pain. In addition to pain, you may also experience burning, tingling, numbness and weakness. But sciatica isn’t a disease in and of itself; the sciatic pain is being caused by something else, whether it’s a herniated disc or another common lower back problem.

About Sciatica – Nerve Pain You Don’t Want to Live With

One of the reasons sciatic nerve pain can be so debilitating is that you just can’t get comfortable; lying down can provide some relief, but you can’t spend your life in bed, as much as you might like to! Sciatica can occur in irritating bouts or even be nearly constant, but one good thing is that nerve damage is rarely permanent. Once it’s gone, it’s gone…until the next painful bout.

What’s causing the pain of sciatica is, in a nutshell, irritation or compression of the large sciatic nerve in the lower back. How far the pain radiates down the buttocks and legs depends on where exactly the nerve has been pinched. Of course, seeing a doctor or a physiotherapist for sciatic pain is recommended because the pain can become quite severe, even to the point where surgical intervention is required. Serious underlying conditions, such as a spinal tumor or infection, may need to be ruled out.

For more ‘ordinary’ sciatic pain, which can still have a huge impact on quality of life during flare-ups, the good news is your symptoms can be treated by simpler means. A program of gentle exercises designed to strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the spine, and aerobic exercise to warm up the ligaments and tendons, get healing nutrients moving and reduce the pinching pressure on the sciatic nerve, can provide a great deal of relief and lead to fewer future episodes of sciatica.

How to Exercise Your Sciatica Away

Sciatic pain strikes a weak, unsupported body more often than a strong one. Therefore, it just makes sense that strengthening the lower back, abdominals, glutes and hips would make you more resilient in the face of sciatic pain and less likely to develop it in the first place. The following strengthening exercises will allow you to bend and twist again like you did last summer, without fear of injury. Try:

  • Hamstring stretches (the back of the thigh can be one of the tightest muscles in the body and directly impacts on sciatic pain)
  • Bird dog yoga pose
  • Plank position exercises
  • Low-impact cardio (48-50” Aquafit is amazing for sciatic pain as it also releases endorphins to help neutralize discomfort)
  • Gentle yoga and pilates

No matter how much you feel you have earned it, try not to rest in bed or on the couch for more than a day or two. It will only lead to more pain, and the inactivity will weaken you further.

For a physical examination to help discover the source of, and best possible solutions to, your sciatic pain, call Integra Health Centre now!

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