The best sciatica relief exercises can help you reduce your pain, shorten the healing process, help maintain your improvement and prevent recurrences.
Sciatica pain can be unbearable. This severe pain can cause more reactive spasm, which in turn can cause more pain. This reactive pain process continues until the pain-spasm-pain-spasm cycle is interrupted.
Performing the right exercise for sciatic pain can go a long way toward helping achieve sciatica pain relief. Do the wrong sciatica pain exercises and you will hinder or slow your recovery. Worse you may not only get the relief for sciatica pain you were hoping for, but instead you could actually cause more harm.
The first of the best sciatica relief exercises is for the acute stage when the nerve pressure is being caused by a bulging disc or from the pinching of one or more of the sciatic nerve roots.
Here it is essential that the pressure be released as soon and as much as possible.
You may or may not be able to do the second exercise. This will depend on whether the pressure is increased by performing it. If so, then this exercise is contra-indicated and should not be performed until pain permits.
However, if there is no increase in pain then it is most likely safe to perform both sciatica relief exercises.
Here are the two best exercises for sciatica pain relief:
Knee to chest.
Lie on your back with your legs bent at the knees. Grab both legs just below the knees and gently pull them to your chest. This action, not only creates a gentle stretch to tight spastic lower back muscles, it will also open the foramen The foramen are holes between the vertebrae where the nerves exit the spine. If you're sciatica is due to nerve pressure at the foramen this will often give you some immediate relief. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat five times. Do this exercise throughout the day. The more it is done the more it will help. It is important to breath naturally and not hold your breath while stretching or performing any exercise.
Variation 1 - Sitting in a chair with the feet firmly on the floor gradually bend forward at the waist bringing your torso to your thighs. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then return to a normal upright sitting posture. Repeat five times. Do this throughout the day for pain relief.
Variation 2- Kneel on the floor and sit back on your legs, while at the same time allowing your chest to rest on your thighs. Stay in this position for 30 seconds and then return to an upright position. Repeat 5 times while staying in that position for 30 seconds each time. You can perform any or all of these stretching exercises as often as you like...provided you experience no increase in pain while doing them.
Always if any exercise or activity is painful or increases your sciatica pain-STOP.
Your pain is your body's way of telling you that you should avoid doing that which is causing the pain.
That reminds me of the old story. A man sees his doctor for a pain and he says to the doctor, "Doc, it hurts when I do this.” The doctor responds, "Then maybe you shouldn't be doing that.”
The second of the best sciatica relief exercises is simply walking.
Remember, you can have other symptoms of sciatica and not have pain. And, also, your sciatica symptoms may be due to some other cause besides disc or foramenal pressure. So, walking may in fact help to eliminate or lesson this cause.
Some patients report that walking doesn't increase their pain. Some say that they feel better during and after walking.
Because walking will increase the internal disc pressure it can cause a bulging disc to bulge even more. Therefore, walking may put more pressure on the nerve roots and that will cause more pain. If you're sciatic nerve pain is increased by walking then by all means do not include walking as an exercise for sciatica relief.
The reasons why walking may be beneficial is because it improves joint motion, increases circulation which aids in the repair and healing process, has a positive psychological effect that is important with the depression that is often present with pain and it aids in the proper mechanical and chemical action of the discs.
If the pain is not increased by walking then walk 10 to 15 minutes at a time and two to 4 times per day.
It is wise to perform the knee to chest exercise immediately after walking. Walking will have warmed the muscles and ligaments and improved motion and circulation which will enable a better stretch.
To avoid reactive pain and to minimize inflammation use ice packs immediately after completing your exercise session for 20 minutes.
You may come across other exercises for sciatic pain on the internet, in a book or magazine or receive exercises from your doctor. These may be helpful or they can quite possibly be more harmful.
Once again, listen to your body. If you're doing any exercises to help sciatica and they increase , or cause pain, do not perform these exercises and inform your doctor or therapist of this.
The knee to chest exercise is especially recommended for the acute stage when pain is limiting your activities and when even the slightest of motion causes pain.
Once the pain has subsided enough to allow more motion you can start gradually adding more sciatic pain exercises into your program of recovery and start engaging in more activities.