Sciatica leads to pain, numbness, or tingling because of certain problems in the nerve roots. Here are some exercises that help reduce the pain.
Dr. Maisie M
Nov 3, 2018
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Exercises that extend the spinal cord are generally advised to perform, for those suffering from sciatica.
It relieves symptoms and strengthen the muscles in one's back, possibly reducing the chances of a severe sciatica attack. Sedentary lifestyle stiffness the body, as the body is designed to move, flex, and indulge in activity to keep muscles well-oiled.
Before you try out any of these exercises, please consult a physician or trained professional about if these are safe to perform.
While some people may suffer from mild sciatica symptoms, others may experience heightened signs of its effect. It's important to stretch frequently, take a walk around your office or home as often as possible, and sleep in a position that doesn't lay stress on your back.
Let's take a look at some effective exercises that can reduce pain along the sciatic nerve.
Exercises that Help Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain
While pregnancy and morbid obesity can put undue stress on the spine, there are other factors-of a medical nature-that can also affect the sciatic nerve. Before you try any of these exercises at home, rule out any chances of suffering from a medical reason, so that you don't aggravate the symptoms of sciatica.
Backward Ankle Hold, Forward Bend, and Downward Doggy
Backward Ankle Hold
For the backward ankle hold, get down on your knees while remaining upright. Gently grip your ankles, keeping them rigid and straight. Look toward the ceiling and maintain this position for 15 seconds, for a total of 3 sets.
Forward Bend Stretch
Here, except that your knees must be locked and shouldn't bend as you move. Stand in an upright position and point both arms in one direction, reaching out for one foot. Hold this position for 10 seconds before switching sides; repeat for a total of 3 sets.
This move requires upper body strength, so don't try this at home unless you're certain that it is possible to mimic. Place your arms in front of you (a little ahead of your shoulders), with your legs planted firmly behind; lift yourself carefully to an arch-like position.
Focus on your breathing and not the strain caused. Hold this position for 15 seconds; repeat for a total of 3 sets.
Backward Flip and One-Legged Yoga Pose
Backward Flip on Exercise Ball
For the backward flip you'll require an exercise ball for support. First, position yourself on the ball by sitting on it, before sliding down until the middle of back is at its epicenter. Gently lift your arms over your head and position it against the floor.
Let your toes lightly graze the ground; it shouldn't be planted firmly. Lie this way for a total of 15 seconds, focusing on your breathing as you balance. Repeat this move for a total of 2 sets.
One-Legged Yoga Pose
This will improve your balance, but strengthen your legs, arms, buttocks, and torso, can do wonders for a stiff back, except that you'll have to learn how to center yourself using one leg.
Bend forward while lifting one leg behind you; hold it with one arm and outstretch the other.
Focus on how your outstretched arm and leg extend in opposing directions, offering the body centered-gravity as it balances on a single leg. Hold this position for 20 seconds, alternating between both sides. Repeat this move for a total of 3 sets.
Pilates and Downward Doggy (Three-Legged)
Pilates are a great mix of exercises that work your core and back.
For this move, lie on your stomach with your palms parallel to your shoulders on the floor. Supporting your weight with your hands and toes, lift yourself off the ground and hold for a complete minute. If you find it hard to hold this position, start off with 15 seconds and work your way up to 60.
Three-Legged Downward Doggy
The three-legged downward dog is a simple exercise, except that this time you're extending one leg in an upward, perpendicular pose, that aligns with your back.
Start off with your right leg and then shift to your left, holding this position for a total of 2 minutes, one for each leg. Don't thrust your leg upwards, but slowly point it away from your body.
Hip Thrust and Sideways Hip Stretch
Upward Hip Thrust
It works your core, back, and buttocks. Lie flat on the floor with your arms straight out by your sides, and your knees bent at right angles. Slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling, using only your core muscles to do the work. Hold this position for 60 seconds to a full 2 minutes.
Sideways Hip Stretch
This move needs to be done carefully by not roughly stretching yourself.
Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched to as far as they can go. Place one hand across your waist, and with the other, reach out in an arch-like fashion in the opposite direction towards your foot. You don't have to touch your feet, but extend your arm till you feel pressure on your hip. Do 15 repetitions for each side for a total of 2 sets.
Pilates with Exercise Ball and Knee-to-Chest Stretch
Pilates with Exercise Ball
This is same as Pilates Pose except using a exercise ball for elevation.This is helpful for sciatic nerve pain, strengthens the back, arms, calves, hamstrings, and core, in a combined effort of sorts.
Be careful while mounting the ball; it would be better if you had someone to help during the first few times, before attempting to do this solo. Repeat this move for a total of 2 sets, 30 seconds each.
This exercise move is not recommended for those with a severe case of sciatica. Consult a physician to see if this exercise can ease pain and not intensify it.
Lie down on the floor on a yoga mat, comfortably positioning yourself on your back. Bring your knees slowly towards your chest and wrap your arms around them. Don't squeeze your knees in a tight vice-like grip; use your arms to gently support your knees. Hold this position for 10 seconds for no more than 2 sets at first.
Sit upright on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Without bending your knees, move forward until your fingers reach your toes. Hold this for 20 seconds; return to original position. Do 2 sets of this move, to give your back a good stretch.
This move is very similar to the first one with the only change of stretching your hands even further beyond your feet while placing your palms against the floor. Do two sets of this move alternating with the first move to give your back a wicked stretch.
These exercises for sciatic nerve pain should be able to dull symptoms and provide relief. If the sciatica is too much to bear, consult a physician or doctor about whether the exercises are helping, or if you should seek an alternative treatment method.