Physical therapy exercises with a combination of strengthening and stretching are key to any sciatica treatment plan, excluding surgery. A regular program of gentle exercises can not only help patients recover more quickly, but also prevent future sciatic pain episodes. These 11 easy physical therapy for sciatica exercises have shown to relieve pain in less than 15 minutes for most of sciatica sufferers.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is leg pain caused by a pinched nerve in the lower back. While the pangs begin in nerve roots located on either side of the lower spine, they afterwards course through the sciatic nerve, which runs the length of each leg from the buttock down to the foot. The resulting “leg agony, called radiculopathy, is often worse than the back pain”, explains for the Health Science Journal, William A. Abdu, MD, medical director of the Spine Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Usually felt in one leg, the sensation “can be intolerable,” he continues. “Some people liken it to the nerve pain you experience if you have a toothache.”
According to some surveys, 4 out of 10 people will probably experience sciatica pain at some point in their lives. Of course, this pain is not always chronic, but it is usually produces certain level of pain or problems. When you look at the numbers, you will probably be shocked, but remember that not all sciatica issues are painful. In many cases it results in weakness in the knees or tingling in the legs.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica Problem
- Numbness, fatigue or reduced feeling in the feet and/or legs;
- Pain felt in any place of the sciatic nerve – calf, back of the thigh, lower back or/and buttock;
- Tingling, pinching, electric sensation;
- The occurrence of foot drop. This is a condition in which you can’t walk on the heels because your ankles are not flexible enough;
- Buckling of the knees when standing up;
- Limited reflexes in the knee and Achilles tendon.
What is the cause of Sciatica Pain?
The most common cause is a herniated disk: “when a disk develops a tear or crack and bulges into the spinal canal, it can pinch the sciatic nerve”. Usually symptoms clear up within about 6 weeks, but for some people, the pain continues.
Soothing Your Sciatica Pain
If you want to reduce and soothe pain in the sciatica, especially if the pain comes as a result of problems with the piriformis, you should know that there are several specially designed back stretches that have proven beneficial.
A study in the journal Pain reported that people with chronic back pain who practiced yoga for 16 weeks saw pain reduced by 64% and disability by 77%. Although yoga’s effects on sciatica are less clear, gentle forms may be beneficial. By strengthening muscles and improving flexibility, a yoga practice can help sciatica sufferers “move and function better so they don’t fall into a posture that aggravates the sciatica,” confirmed for us, James W. Carson, PhD, a psychologist at the Comprehensive Pain Center at Oregon Health & Science University.
The 11 exercises we selected here are designed so that almost anyone can perform them. With their help you will be able to stretch the lower back area and protect yourself from sciatica pain and even stop it in its track. Let’s start!
1. The Erected Back Twist
The standing back twist is an great pose for those who can’t bend normally because after this exercise they will be able to continue with some other exercises. Just lift your foot and place it on a chair. At the same time, put the opposite hand on the raised knee (outwards). Make sure that the right hand is placed on the left knee and vice versa. The other hand should be placed on the hip. Turn the upper body and keep the hips in a straight direction. Stay in this position for about half a minute and switch after that. If you feel uncomfortable stop the exercise.
2. The Knee Raise
Lying down on the floor, bring one of your knees close to the chest while the other leg remains straight. Use your hands to push and pull the knees. Your shoulders should stay on the ground all the time
3. The Two Knee Twist
We start the exercise by lying down on our back. Spread your hands in order to create a capital T letter. While keeping the shoulders on the ground, turn the knees out to the left and after that to the right. Your shoulders should remain on the ground all the time. Stay in this position for about 60 seconds and after that switch sides.
4. The Single Knee Twist
Once again, we lie on our back. Leave one of your legs in a straight position and bend one of the knees to a right angle. Use the opposite hand on this knee. Turn your head to the arm that remains on the ground. Your shoulders should be pressed against the ground.
5. The Twisted Lunge
Now this pose might be more difficult than the previous, but it does wonders for the hips. Step with your left leg forward and bend it at the knee. Leave the other leg behind your back. Keep your feet apart for about one leg’s length. While turning the back, place the opposite elbow one the outside and right above the bent knee. Keep the palms together. Remain in this position for half a minute.
6. The Seated Twist
Sitting on the ground, keep your legs straight in front of you. Bend the leg at the knee and put it on the outer side of the other knee, just like on the picture. It is up to your flexibility whether the leg will be curled up or straight. Place one of your hands flat on the ground right behind you and place the opposite elbow on the outer side of the bent knee. Slowly turn to face right behind you and stay with the legs pointing straight forward.
7. The Cat Pose
This is a very simple exercise, which benefits for the back we’ve explored before . Use your knees and hands to stand on the ground. Slowly bend the back down and gently lift the chest by using the power of your shoulders. Breathe deeply and hold this position for about 10 seconds. Return to the flat back and after that tuck the chin right into the chest and slowly raise the back. Stay in this position for about 10 seconds and relax. Perform this exercise for up to two minutes.
8. Child’s Pose
The child’s pose might be the simplest of them all. Use your knees and hands to get down. Assume a praying position by keeping the hands on the ground right in front of you. Remain in this position as much as you want, from 30 seconds up to 10 minutes.
Physical Therapy for Sciatica VIDEOs
9. One Minute VIDEO Exercises To Ease the Sciatic Nerve Pain
10. Get Rid of Sciatic Pain in Almost No Time – VIDEO EXERCISE
11. This is How I REMOVED Sciatic Pain in Lower Back and Legs – VIDEO
Source: The Hearty Soul