Sciatica Exercise for Women
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When you are suffering with symptoms of sciatica, sciatica exercise can be very helpful, but you must be doing the correct exercises. To be effective the exercises must treat the cause of your sciatica.

Exercises that work best for women will vary from what works best for men.

"something is irritating the sciatic nerve"

Sciatica is not a disease or a diagnosis.  Sciatica is a symptom or a sign that something is irritating the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve about the size of your finger that runs from the posterior pelvis through the muscles of your buttock and thigh.

  

  

  

  

  

It is formed by the joining of several nerve roots after they exit the lumbar spine, and after it passes through the buttock and thigh, it divides into the smaller nerves that serve the lower leg and foot.

"a severe ache in the buttock and thigh"

If the sciatic nerve is pinched, squeezed, or otherwise irritated, anywhere along its length can cause pain and/or weakness and other symptoms of sciatica in the back, leg, or foot.

The pain of sciatica is often described as a severe ache in the buttock and thigh, similar to a toothache. You may also have numbness or tingling in your leg or foot.

  

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Three Different Types of Sciatica Exercise for Women and Men

"divided into three broad categories"

The sciatica exercises can generally be divided into three broad categories, stretching of the muscles, strengthening of the muscles, and stretching of the spine.

The best sciatica exercises for women focuses on:

  • Gentle stretching to relieve tight muscles and ligaments. 
  • Strengthening exercises to tone and condition muscles. 
  • Careful stretching of the spine to make room for the nerves.

"because women are built different than men"

These are the same basic sciatica exercises that everybody can use, but they need to be modified to fit a woman's body, because women are built different than men. Most women tend to have more ligamentous laxity making it easy for them to stretch their ligaments and be more limber.

Women should spend less time with the stretching sciatica exercises and focus more on improving their muscle tone with conditioning sciatica exercises. When the ligaments are stretched properly to allow easy and smooth motion of the joints it is the muscles that control the joints and prevent hyper mobility or instability.

"lax ligaments allow excessive range of motion at the joints"

When lax ligaments allow excessive range of motion at the joints you risk subluxation or dislocation. Subluxation occurs when a joint slips partially out of place. This may cause abnormal wear and cartilage damage. A dislocation, especially of a major joint, will usually require a trip to the emergency room, to have the joint put back in place.

Strong muscles and good muscle tone will control your joints and not allow them to become damaged because of the ligamentous laxity that most women experience.

"it must address the cause of the sciatica"

Before any sciatica exercise or treatment can effectively treat sciatica, it must address the cause of the sciatica. There are many different causes of sciatica but the three most common are lumbar spinal stenosis, disk herniations, and piriformis syndrome.


Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when arthritic joints and overgrown ligaments in your back crowd into the space for the nerves. Lumbar traction or gently stretching the spine can open up the space between the vertebrae and make more room for the nerves.

An effective way of using lumbar traction is with inversion therapy. Lying on an inversion table that slowly rotates you into a partially upside down position allows the weight of your body to pull on your lumbar spine and increase the space between the vertebrae.

"do not try to go completely upside down"

You should not use inversion therapy if you're pregnant or have glaucoma. When using inversion therapy start off slowly and do not try to go completely upside down. Rotate just until you begin to feel a stretch in your back. Then hold it there for 5 or 10 minutes to see how it feels.

In the beginning you should only use a slight angle for a short period of time. As you become more comfortable with what you're doing you can gradually increase the angle and/or increase the length of time.

"women should also do exercises to strengthen your core"

When you are using lumbar traction, women should also do exercises to strengthen your core including the muscles of your abdomen and back. Strengthening your core muscles will help to prevent hyper mobility that can cause back pain. Good exercises for this are crunches and leg extensions.

In the beginning you should only use a slight angle for a short period of time. As you become more comfortable with what you're doing you can gradually increase the angle and/or increase the length of time.

  


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CRUNCHES

  • 1. Lie on the floor, or an exercise mat, on your back with your knees bent.
  • 2. Cross your arms on your chest.
  • 3. Raise your head and shoulders off of the floor.
  • 4. Hold for a count of three and then relax.
  • 5. Do three sets of five repetitions.

This video demonstrates a slightly more advanced version with slight variations.

Double Crunch


LEG EXTENSIONS

  • 1. Lie on your stomach on the floor or an exercise mat with your legs straight.
  • 2. Keeping your right leg straight lift it off of the floor.
  • 3. Hold for a count of five and then relax.
  • 4. Do five repetitions.
  • 5. Repeat with a left leg
  • 6. Do three sets with each leg.

This video demonstrates a slightly more advanced version with slight variations.

Arm and Leg Extensions



Disc herniations occur when the soft inner part of the disc pushes out of the disk space into the space for the nerves. If the disc fragments put pressure on a nerve it may cause symptoms of sciatica with pain in your buttock or thigh.

When your sciatica is caused by a disc herniation, women can often get good relief using hyper extension exercises. In these cases, your increased laxity allows more motion at the disc space, allowing you to manipulate the disc more readily.

"disc to migrate towards the front and away from the nerves"

Hyper extension exercises effect of the pressure within the disc space, causing more pressure at the back of the disc, and less pressure at the front of the disc. This will cause the soft inner part of the disc to migrate towards the front and away from the nerves.

These sciatica exercises work best when they can be done for short periods several times a day. Between exercise sessions you should try and avoid bending and lifting because flexing the lumbar spine forward will tend to push the inner core of the disc towards the back, and towards the nerves.

HYPER EXTENSION EXERCISES

  • 1. Lie on your stomach to on the floor or an exercise mat.
  • 2. Raise your shoulders up an rest your upper body on your elbows.
  • 3. While keeping your hips on the floor straighten your arms and arch your back.
  • 4. Hold for a count of 5 and then relax.
  • 5. Repeat 5 times and do several sets throughout the day.

This video demonstrates a slightly more advanced version with slight variations.

McKenzie or Hyper Extension Exercises


If you have arthritis in your back be careful with this one because it is easy to overdo and cause back pain. Do not push your back into more arch than is comfortable, and do not hold it longer than is comfortable.

Women doing hyper extension exercises regularly should also be doing the crunches and leg extensions described above to strengthen your core and stabilize your spine.

Maybe these can also help:

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Piriformis Syndrome

Inversion Therapy

Cauda Equina Syndrome

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons


Stretching and Strengthening Exercises from our Friends at YouTube :

Double Crunch

Arm and Leg Extensions

McKenzie or Hyper Extension Exercises

Sitting Piriformis Stretch

Supine Piriformis Stretch

Side Plank


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