Exercising is often hard enough. Even if the motivation is there, your hectic daily schedule may not allow it. When you have sciatica, though, you need to exercise. In fact, exercise is usually better for relieving sciatic pain than bed rest. Resting for a day or two after your sciatic pain flares up is fine, but further inactivity will usually make the pain worse.
Exercises and Stretches to Help Relieve Sciatica
Exercise helps the body with proper oxygenation and blood flow. Stretching helps to elongate muscles and relieves compression in the body. Before you begin exercising with sciatica, remember three things:
- Consult your chiropractor or primary care physician to determine which activity is right for you.
- While stretching, DO NOT bounce or twist quickly; rather, hold a stretch gently and still.
- Stay hydrated–cramping and improper flow of lactic acid can cause more pain and discomfort.
Here are a few exercises and stretches:
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or stool, with your knees bent at 90-degree angles and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly stretch one leg out in front of you until it is straight, with only your heel on the floor. You may need to place both hands on the chair to balance yourself. Gently flex the toes of your extended leg back toward your body. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and then switch legs.
Sciatic Nerve Stretch
By stretching the nerve, it can help to desensitize it so that it will not cause as much pain.
Perform this stretch by lying on your back with your hand behind one knee, preferably the leg with the sciatic pain. Straighten your leg as much as you can, then alternate flexing your foot backward and forward. Only hold your foot in each position for a few seconds. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.
Lie down on your back, arms at your sides. Bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor. Tighten the muscles in your core, and bring your right knee up to your chest. Hold your shin with your hands to keep your leg in place. Keep your left leg as straight as feels comfortable. Count to 20, taking deep breaths. Switch legs, and repeat.
Walking is very low impact, but lightly stretches your legs. When you walk at a brisk pace, your gait increases – as does the stretch. Walk at a sustained quick pace for up to 3 miles. This also allows the muscles in your core and lower back to engage as they compensate for the extra work your legs have to do.
Contact us today to set an appointment. We’d like to see you and discover if we can help relieve your Sciatica pain.