Exercises for sciatica are not complicated or difficult.
They are easy to understand and easy to do.
But, they must be customized to fit your particular problem
The best exercises for sciatica are a combination of gentle stretches and easy exercises to condition and tone the muscles of your back and abdomen.
But, before looking at your exercises, we must think about your sciatica, and understand what we are trying to do.
"aching pain in the buttock and thigh"
Sciatica is an aching pain in the buttock and thigh. The pain of sciatica may be minor or very severe and it may radiate into the lower leg and foot or up into the back.
There may be other symptoms of sciatica such as numbness and tingling or lower extremity weakness.
"something is it irritating the sciatic nerve"
Sciatica itself, is not a disease, it is a sign that something is irritating the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs from the posterior pelvis through the muscles of the buttock and into the posterior thigh.
The sciatic nerve is formed by the joining of several nerve roots after they exit the lumbar spine. In the lower thigh it separates into the nerves that go to the lower leg and foot.
"The key to relieving "YOUR" sciatica"
If these nerves are irritated anywhere from the lumbar spine into the lower leg, it can cause the pain, and other symptoms of sciatica.
The key to relieving "YOUR" sciatica, is finding out which exercises for sciatica work best for "YOU".
"determine which exercise works best for You"
There are three common causes of sciatica, lumbar spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, and piriformis syndrome. Each of these conditions will require a different type of stretching exercises for sciatica.
If you know what is causing your sciatica you can go directly to the correct exercises for sciatica. If you don't know what is causing your sciatica it is easy to determine which exercise works best for you.
"making more space for the nerves"
Lumbar spinal stenosis is caused by arthritis and overgrown ligaments in the lumbar spine. A lifetime of lifting and bending can cause the ligaments to get big and thick taking up room for the nerves, and the little facet joints in your back develop bone spurs that grow into the space for the nerves.
Inversion therapy is very effective and it uses lumbar traction to carefully stretch the lumbar spine separating the vertebra and making more space for the nerves.
"start slowly, using only slight inversion for short periods of time"
If you have glaucoma, are pregnant, or have uncontrolled hypertension you should not use inversion therapy
When using inversion therapy is important to start slowly, using only slight inversion for short periods of time. Do not try to go completely upside down until you are comfortable with how it feels. In the beginning, limit your sessions to 5 minutes. As you become more comfortable with what you're doing you can increase the time and the degree of inversion.
"listen to music, or meditate during these periods"
Inversion therapy can be a very pleasant and relaxing exercise. You should try to get used to doing it 2 to 3 times per day for the best results.
It may be difficult to read or watch TV while using inversion therapy, but you may want to do breathing exercises, listen to music, or meditate during these periods.
"Pressure on the nerves may cause pain, or numbness and tingling..."
A herniated disc can cause the symptoms of sciatica when the soft inner portion of the disc is pushed out into the space for the nerves. Pressure on the nerves may cause pain, or numbness and tingling, and other symptoms, in the area that that nerve serves.
Hyper extension exercises for sciatica can cause negative pressure in the front part of the disc causing the disc material to move towards the front and away from the nerves.
"it may take 2 to 3 weeks to notice results"
This disc material will not move immediately it may take 2 to 3 weeks to notice results. These exercises should be done 2 to 3 times per day, and very gently in the beginning, As you become more comfortable you can increase your hyper extension as tolerated.
This video does an excellent job of demonstrating the hyper extension exercises for sciatica from a herniated disc. Start off gently and only do as much as is comfortable.
"it can squeeze the sciatic nerve causing the pain"
Piriformis syndrome causes piriformis sciatica when the piriformis muscle puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. This commonly occurs in two different situations.
The piriformis muscle is one of the muscles that control the motion of your hip. It lies over the top of the sciatic nerve. When this muscle becomes short and tight because of inactivity or improper stretching techniques it can squeeze the sciatic nerve causing the pain and other symptoms of sciatica.
"spasms of the piriformis muscle which causes pressure"
Some authorities theorize that piriformis sciatica develops when the gluteus muscles and other large muscles that control the hip become weak causing a strain on the piriformis muscle. They hypothesize that this leads to spasms of the piriformis muscle which causes pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The correct exercises for sciatica caused by the piriformis muscle would include stretches to stretch the piriformis muscle and exercises to strengthen the gluteus muscle group and the other muscles that control the hip.
These two videos do an excellent job of demonstrating easy piriformis stretches that can be done either sitting or lying. Start off gently and only do as much as is comfortable.
"strengthen the hip muscles"
Easy exercises to strengthen the hip muscles include leg and arm extensions, front planks, and side planks. These videos do an excellent job of demonstrating these exercises start off gently and only do as much as is comfortable.
When doing leg and arm extensions only lift your leg and arm as far as is comfortable. You can increase the effectiveness by doing more repetitions.
"plank exercises can be made easier"
These plank exercises can be made easier by placing a few pillows or an exercise ball under your chest to take some of the weight off of your abs and anterior hip muscles. When you make these easier, you can make them more effective by doing more repetitions.
When you are doing exercises for sciatica you need to be doing the stretches along with exercises to strengthen your core muscles, especially the abdominals and the back muscles. These leg and arm extensions, and the plank exercises, are also good for strengthening the muscles of your core.
Another good exercise for strengthening your abs is crunches. They are easy to do, simple to understand, and they can be made more effective by doing more repetitions.
"start off easy and carefully add"
These are the easy exercises for sciatica. You should always combine the stretching exercises with strengthening exercises. It is always best to start off easy and carefully add pressure and repetitions.
Never Make Your Pain Worse
These exercises should never cause increased pain. Any exercise that causes pain should be eliminated from your routine.
If these exercises fail to relieve your pain or at least make it more tolerable you need to consider seeing your doctor for an evaluation. He can examine you and order the appropriate tests to determine a diagnosis and get you on the road to recovery.
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