Part of the recommended treatment for sciatica includes a progressive exercise program that targets the underlying cause of pain. Sciatica exercises are programmed to reduce pain and condition the body to prevent the pain from coming back. Patients may go to a physical therapist, chiropractor, physiatrist, certified athletic trainer, or a spin specialist to educate them on specific exercises that will manage sciatic pain.
It may sound counter intuitive at first, but exercise is seen to relive sciatic pain better than bed rest. Physical inactivity will usually make the pain worse, though patients may be told to rest for a day or two after a sciatic pain episode. Not doing exercise or physical movement will decondition the back muscles and spinal structures and make them too weak to support the patient’s back and lead to more pain eventually. Following an exercise regimen also makes the spinal discs healthier by making it easier for nutrients and fluids to flow within the discs and relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Common sciatica exercise treatment program include:
In order to better support the back, many sciatica exercises are designed to strengthen abdominal and back muscles. Tight and inflexible muscles that are painful to move can be targeted through stretching exercises. Patients recover quickly and are less likely to experience recurring pain if they engage in a regular and gentle strengthening/stretching exercises.
Underlying causes of sciatic pain, such as lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis, are targeted using a specific exercise program. Accurate diagnosis before any exercise is crucial since the wrong type of exercise may worsen the sciatica pain and its symptoms.
Sciatica care must be integrated into a person’s daily life and routine. Aside from exercise, patients are also advised to avoid putting additional stress on the lower back. This includes using proper lifting ergonomics, maintaining good posture, supporting the lower back while sitting, and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing. It is important for a patient to consult a health professional for correct pain diagnosis and address any underlying problems. Patients should also avoid self-treatment, because prescribed exercises will differ depending on a patient’s condition.