People with sciatica pain generally experience much discomfort through buttocks and down the back of their leg. But that does not mean that it originates in the back, it may be caused due to some hip or pelvis injury or from pressure to sciatic nerve. Sciatica is the nerve pain which runs even into your ankle and foot. People who experience this condition describe its pain as sharp, burning and shooting. They may also face some weakness in the affected area. And the pain may get aggravated with sudden movements.
What should you do in case of sciatica pain?
A physical therapist or doctor may advise you to do different types of exercises and stretches to keep the pain in control. These stretches may be knee to chest stretching, seated spinal twisting, hamstring stretching, seated hip stretch, cobra position etc.
While it may sound counterintuitive to you but exercising is certainly better for relieving the sciatic pain than lying on bed. Patients may take rest for a day or so when the pain flares up but after some time, inactivity and bed rest may make the pain severe. For those in chronic pain or who have high level of sciatica pain, a good option to consider is the gentle water therapy. This is a progressive and controlled exercising program that is done in warm pool and relieves the pain to some extent.
Stretching exercises further help the sciatica patients to have some relief. These stretching exercises target the muscles which cause the pain when the muscles are inflexible and tight. As the patients engage in stretching exercises, they can recover fast from a flare up and are also less likely to face any future chances of pain. One stretching exercise which is very important part of any sciatica exercise regime is hamstring stretch. It has been seen that a lot of people do not stretch the hamstring muscles that extend from pelvis to knee in the back of your thigh.
Apart from water therapy and stretching, there are several strengthening exercises as well that can help to strengthen the spinal column and supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments. Most of such exercises focus mainly on lower back but there is relief in the hip muscles, gluteus and abdominal muscles as well.
Last but not least, in addition to various sciatica exercises, aerobics may also help in total body fitness. Walking is a great exercise form for your lower back as it is low impact and can provide the benefits of aerobic workout. Whenever possible, it is good to progress gradually doing up 3 miles of walking each day. Aerobics also has the benefit of releasing the endorphins in the body, which are the natural pain killers that help to reduce the sciatic pain.
So, in all, these types of exercises may be performed separately or in combination with each other to enjoy the best of benefits. Examples of such exercises may include stretching and strengthening, Pilates, Tai Chi, Yoga etc.