3 Exercises For Sciatica: Prevention And Treatment

Exercises for sciatica have two main functions; on the one hand they help to minimize pain, and on the other they are useful to reduce the recurrence of seizures. We tell you what they consist of.

There is a set of exercises for sciatica that can be included in a plan for the prevention and treatment of your symptoms. While it is true that the ailment improves with rest, physical activity is recommended to strengthen the affected areas. When muscles and structures remain inactive, their ability to support decreases and the risk of injury or strain increases. This situation not only prevents the improvement of pain, but can lead to complications or damage of greater care.

On the contrary, the movements facilitate the exchange of fluids and nutrients within the discs and areas near the sciatic nerve, which prevents irritation. Thus, it is not surprising that an exercise program is recommended for optimal recovery of patients.

What is sciatica?

Before reviewing the main exercises for sciatica, it is important to explain what this ailment means and how it manifests itself. Sometimes the term “sciatica” is used incorrectly, as many use it to describe pain that has nothing to do with the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica is a set of symptoms that originate when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or irritated. The pain can start in the lower back (lumbar area), radiating to the buttock, the back of the leg, and the end of the foot. Most of the time it affects only one side of the body, however, in reduced cases there is a type of “bilateral” sciatica, in which both sides are involved. Along with the pain , symptoms such as tingling, muscle weakness and movement limitations can be triggered.

However, its intensity level varies in each case, according to the underlying cause. While sometimes it is the result of injury or accident, in other cases it indicates diseases such as herniated disc or spinal canal stenosis.

What are the characteristics of exercises for sciatica?

Woman practicing exercises with a physiotherapist.

Exercises for sciatica are one of the most recommended therapeutic measures against this problem. Its practice has two purposes: first, to reduce existing pain in the short term; then provide conditioning to prevent the reappearance of symptoms. In all cases it is important to have the supervision of a certified physical therapist, chiropractor or trainer, as a poorly designed program can make the condition worse. On the other hand, these professionals can monitor that the postures are correct.

Similarly, before suggesting any routine, the doctor must determine an accurate diagnosis to clarify the underlying cause. Although rare, sciatica can be caused by fractures, tumors, or infections that require other treatments.

What are the best exercises for sciatica?

Basically, exercises for sciatica fall into three key areas. Each can be applied both to avoid crises and for the rehabilitation process. Below we clarify what they consist of:

1. Strengthening exercises

Woman lifting the pelvis.

Strengthening exercises aim to increase the support capacity of the spine, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They often work the lower back, but they also target the abs, glutes, and hips. Together, these sciatica exercises keep muscle groups active and decrease sciatic nerve irritation. Among other things, they increase the strength of the spine and facilitate movements that require more flexibility.

2. Stretching exercises

A large part of the prevention and treatment of sciatic pain relies on stretching exercises. These types of activities focus on increasing the flexibility of some muscles that tend to be stiff or stiff. Regardless of the diagnosis, hamstring stretches are advised most of the time. These muscles are located on the back of the thigh and their tension usually affects the appearance of pain.

3. Low-impact aerobic exercises

Woman walking with a bottle of water.

One of the components of the sciatica recovery process is low-impact aerobic exercise. By not involving too much effort, they are ideal for relaxing the affected areas and stimulating circulation. Another of their benefits is that they facilitate the use of fluids and nutrients for optimal maintenance of the discs and affected areas. In addition, its ability to release endorphins produces an “analgesic” effect that minimizes pain.

Finally, it is important to remember that these exercises for sciatica must be complemented with good body posture. Maintaining an incorrect position can increase pressure on the nerve and, therefore, pain attacks.

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