Regular exercise is a great way to manage your sciatica. Exercising helps strengthen your core muscles, improves flexibility, and increases range of motion. Additionally, exercise improves overall health.
Sciatica exercises focus on reducing pain in your lower back and legs caused due to compression, irritation, or inflammation on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica exercises and stretches can help improve the functional movement of your spine and help maintain good posture thereby relieving pressure on the lower back and can reduce your sciatica pain.
A study published by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science concluded that physical exercise and stretching help promote the natural healing of soft tissues by stimulating the nervous system and help alleviate sciatica symptoms.
Sciatica exercises and stretches performed at home are a natural way to manage your sciatica. Some common at-home exercises for sciatica pain relief are listed below. Please note, before performing any exercise routine, check with your doctor.
1. Seated Hamstring stretch
Take a straight-back chair, sit up straight, and relax with deep breaths. Move a little towards the edge of the chair. Now stretch out one of your legs right in front. The heels of your stretched leg should be on the floor while your toes should be lifted from the floor and pointed back to you.
You can continue the stretch at this position for a few seconds. However, for a deeper stretch, you can start bending yourselves forward over the outstretched leg while keeping your back straight. You can feel a nice stretch on your hamstrings and calf area. You can put your hands on your waist or your legs for added stability. However, do not press your hands on your legs. Hold this position for a few seconds and return to your original position slowly by retracing your steps.
Repeat this stretch with the alternate leg. Repeat the stretch five times.
2. Standing Calf Stretch
Stand facing a wall while keeping at least two feet of distance from the wall. Put one of your legs forward towards the wall while bending the other leg at the knee. Keep the heel of the leg that is forward grounded down while leaning your upper body forward. Place your hands outstretched on the wall for added stability. Hold this position for a few seconds and slowly return to the original position by retracing your steps. Repeat this with the alternate leg. Perform this stretch five times.
3. The Bridge
Lay down flat on your back with your hands on either side of the body and relax. Bend your knees while keeping the heels grounded and your toes facing out. Take a deep breath and slowly try to lift your buttocks while keeping your hands grounded and pushing through your heels. Hold this lifted position for a few seconds and then gently return to the original position. Repeat this at least 10 times.
4. Seated pigeon pose
This stretch is a variation of the pigeon pose in yoga. Sit on the floor with a straight back and legs stretched out straight in front of you. Relax and take deep breaths. Now bend one of your legs so that the ankle of the bent leg sits on the top of the other leg that is stretched out in front of you. Hold this for a few seconds. For a deeper stretch, slowly bend forward while keeping your back straight. You can place your hands on your waist on legs for added stability. Hold for a few seconds and slowly return to your original position. Repeat with the other leg. Perform this stretch five times.
In addition to the above exercises and stretches, brisk walking is a low-impact exercise that can help you build muscle strength, manage body weight, and improve flexibility.
For many people, sciatica can be effectively managed at home through exercises and stretches. However, consult a medical professional before starting any exercise. Incorrectly performed exercise may worsen your sciatica pain.
Your chiropractor can create a personalized exercise program that works best for your sciatica pain relief based on the root cause of your sciatica. Reach out to Cianci Chiropractic to build your program for you.