The word sciatica has it’s roots deep in the Greek language, and like that ancient language, the condition has been around for millennia. Basically, sciatica is nerve pain in the leg that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. It typically starts in the lower back, moves through the buttock, and then radiates down the leg on one side or the other.
Most of the time, sciatica will resolve itself with time and rest. But this can be a complicated condition, simply because there are so many possible causes of sciatic pain. That is why it’s so important to consult a healthcare practitioner before starting any treatment or exercise program. You need to be sure that what you are doing will be beneficial and not make things worse.
There are some stretches and exercises that are generally considered safe (unless your doctor has cautioned against even these), but when it comes to sciatica, there are a few exercises you definitely should be avoiding.
Exercises that force you to use your core by lifting both legs at the same time are a big no-no for sciatica sufferers. While they are great for strengthening your stomach muscles as well as your back, they can seriously aggravate sciatic pain and even do damage to the nerves. If your stomach muscles aren’t strong enough to lift both legs together, your back muscles will engage to get the job done, and that can put you at risk for disc herniation.
Attempting double leg lifts when your abdominal muscles are only strong enough to lift one leg at a time may even cause sciatic pain where none existed before. If you can’t lift your legs without moving your pelvis or your torso, then your abs aren’t strong enough for double leg lifts yet.
While stretching your hamstring muscles gently, slowly, and carefully can be beneficial for sciatica, swinging your legs in circles is definitely not. Whether you do them standing or lying on your back, moving your legs in circles can be irritating to your sciatica. You’ll even want to avoid certain Pilates and yoga poses for this reason until your sciatic pain has resolved.
This weight lifting exercise is great for strengthening back muscles, which sounds like it would be good for sciatica. But, it’s very easy to do this one with poor form (rounding your back, for instance). This specifically puts you at serious risk for disc herniation, which, in turn, can cause or worsen sciatica. Experts highly recommend that you simply avoid this type of exercise while you are dealing with sciatic or lower back pain.
Sitting for long periods of time. Sitting increases pressure on the sciatic nerve: the more time spent sitting, the more pressure you’ll experience. If your job requires you to work at a desk for hours on end, consider a standing desk or at least a quality chair that promotes good posture.
An inactive lifestyle. Staying active will result in stronger and more flexible muscles in your back and core; this, in turn, will reduce the likelihood of developing herniated discs and other spinal alignment issues that cause sciatic pain. You don’t need to go rock climbing or take up weight lifting. In fact, you probably shouldn’t if you are experiencing sciatic pain. Even simple light exercise or yoga can be an excellent way to help stretch and strengthen back muscles to avoid sciatica related problems.
One excellent option for sciatic pain treatment that can be highly beneficial is massage therapy. Acupressure massage therapy can stretch and loosen tight muscles and tendons to release pressure on the sciatic nerve, improve circulation to reduce inflammation, and help restore balance to the whole body to facilitate quicker healing.
At Easy Cozy Wellness in Abbotsford, BC, our massage therapists are trained and experienced in treating sciatic pain through acupressure massage. Call to book your appointment for acupressure massage today and let the Easy Cozy Wellness team help you on your way to sciatic pain relief.
Easy Cozy focus on Acupressure (Body) Massage and Reflexology (Foot) Massage which are good for both males and females within any age range.