Exercises For Sciatica

Performing exercises for sciatica can put you on the fast track toward a lasting cure.

However, the wrong kind of exercise for sciatic pain or even performing the exercise at the wrong time can have negative consequences.

Abnormal pressure or irritation to the sciatic nerve is the cause the sciatica symptoms. The first thing that needs to be done is discovering what is causing the pressure or irritation.

Removing or relieving the cause will then relieve the symptoms and correct the problem.

You can do this by performing specific exercises for sciatica relief that, by their very nature, will reduce the pressure. Or, by the body's very reaction to these sciatica exercises, will balance the muscles, improve posture and alignment, increase muscular endurance and relax spasm.

Why Exercise For Sciatica

Some reasons why sciatica exercise may be of benefit are because they can:

  • Relax muscles spasms-muscle spasms may directly impact the sciatic nerve as is found in a piriformis syndrome. Muscle spasm can cause more pain in addition to that already caused by sciatica. Muscular stress, in the form of reactive spasms, can lead to activated trigger points. These trigger points will then become a source of additional pain, more muscle dysfunction. The end result is a worsening of an already painful sciatic condition.
  • Improve strength and balance-weakened muscles, or muscle groups, can destabilize the lumbar spine and pelvis. This destabilization can be the cause or factor in the onset of sciatica. By improving muscle strength and balance you can stabilize unstable joints and improve an abnormal posture that can be at the core of the problem.
  • Improve muscle endurance-when muscles lack endurance they will fatigue more readily. When this fatigue occurs the muscle is more prone to injury. In addition , the fatigued muscle will fail to stabilize and maintain proper posture. The result can be continued pressure or irritation to the nerve or nerve roots.
  • Improve posture-posture has an effect on balance, alignment, muscle endurance and function. Poor posture creates misalignment that can cause or worsen nerve pressure. Poor posture can allow for muscle fatigue which will only make abnormal posture worse. Poor posture (structure) leads to poor function of the lumbar spine. All this will cause or contribute to increased internal disc pressure causing further disc bulging. Abnormal posture can also further contribute to existing misalignment of your lumbar spine that already is pinching or squeezing the nerve roots and causing sciatic pain symptoms.

What Type Sciatica Exercise To Do

To start performing any exercises for sciatica pain or doing them haphazardly will most likely just addfuel to the fire.

There needs to be a rhyme and reason for each exercise. In other words, there needs to be a purpose (a desired outcome) depending on the stage of your condition.

The desired outcome of exercises for sciatica is sixfold:

  1. Help lower pain and discomfort.
  2. Aid in reducing nerve pressure.
  3. Improve strength and endurance.
  4. Improve structural and functional balance.
  5. Stabilize the lumbar-pelvic spine.
  6. Prevent recurrences.

Each stage in the process of healing the sciatic nerve requires specific sciatica exercises and protocol.

Attempting to strengthen the spine before correcting or eliminating the cause will be futile. Because, pain will either persist or worsen and this will prevent proper execution of the exercises you are attempting to perform.

Here is another example of how you can worsen your condition by doing the wrong sciatica pain exercise. If you stretch a spastic muscle prematurely and at the same time do not treat and eliminate offending trigger points you only create more pain and spasm.

Here is a chart that shows what your goals are and the kinds of sciatica relief exercises to do to achieve those goals.

Sciatica Exercise Goals

Desired Outcome

Build Strength

Improve Endurance

Improve Flexibility

Develope Core Strength

Stabilize Lumbo-pelvic Spine

Improve Muscle Balance

Exercise Type

Progressive Resistance

High Repetition Resistance



Core, Stretching

Resistance, Core, Stretching

The stage of your recovery, whether acute, sub-acute or chronic, will determine the type of exercise, which exercise, the frequency, intensity and duration.

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