Exercises for Sciatica To Keep It Under Check
Written and reviewed by
Master of Physical Therapy MPT CARDIO, BPTh/BPT
Exercises for Sciatica
Sciatica is often distinguished not as a medical condition but as a set of symptoms that underlie a more serious medical concern such as a slipped disc, degeneration of the spine or the lumbar region etc.
It is important to note the symptoms of Sciatica, as these are quite distinct -
1.Constant pain in one of the buttocks or leg (rarely are both legs affected)
2.The pain worsens on sitting
3.The pain is often described as a sharp & searing pain similar to a burning sensation
4.The pain is often accompanied by a heaviness or numbness that makes movement difficult
5.Shifting of postures (sitting to standing and back to sitting) becomes painful and laborious
An alternative to surgery would be to supplement the oral medication with certain specific exercises.
Reflexology, Acupuncture and Chiropractic manipulation are all considered effective to alleviate the pain to a large extent.
Patients are often encouraged to partake in daily exercise routine, incorporating strengthening and stretching exercises.
The strengthening exercises target the core or abdominal muscles along with the back muscles to provide more support to the back.
The stretching exercises will help to “loosen up” the surrounding muscle groups such as the hamstrings, which then allow for more blood and oxygen circulation alleviating the pain and giving the immune system a much needed boost.
When patients engage in a regular programme of gentle stretching and strengthening exercises, they can recover quickly (in comparison to those who do not exercise) from the flare ups and over time the painful episodes are known to reduce significantly, both in frequency as well as intensity.
Ancient holistic practices such Yoga and Tai-chi are often considered the best form of exercises for the afflicted because of the balanced and slow but controlled movements that complement the ‘breath’ rather than causing further exertion to the already fragile bone density.
It is recommended that expert advice be sought and the exercises should be undertaken only under trained supervision. Please do not attempt to “experiment” with Yoga or Tai-Chi on your own, as improper or wrong posture could lead to irreparable damage to the spine.
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