Sciatica pain can be intense, preventing you from working, spending time with loved ones, and otherwise living your life. It has several potential underlying causes, although 90% of cases stem from spinal disc herniation. This presses on the lumbar nerve or sacral nerve roots, generating intense pain. Although many cases remit spontaneously over the course of weeks or months, the pain in the meantime can be almost unbearable.
Treatment for sciatica is difficult but not impossible. Physical therapy, weight control, and NSAIDs can help, but you’ll get the most benefit from a properly managed chiropractic treatment plan.
We’ve put together a list of 5 exercises you can do at home that can help reduce acute sciatica pain. Remember: exercises alone will not prevent sciatica or cure sciatica. However, with the right chiropractic treatment plan, you can see significant long-term results. That said, the right exercises can reduce pain in the short term.
It might seem counterintuitive, but exercise is actually better for sciatica pain than bed rest. Without enough movement, your muscles become deconditioned and weakened, making you more prone to back injury and strain, exacerbating the pain. Exercise programs for sciatica can depend on its underlying cause, but will almost always feature exercises that promote core strength in the back and abdominal muscles.
These 5 exercises can help relieve and prevent sciatica pain.
This stretch helps promote lower back flexibility. Starting on your back with a cushion beneath your head, bend your knees while keeping your feet straight and your legs hip width apart. With your upper body relaxed, bend one knee up toward your chest, grasping it with both hands. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Designed to mobilize the hamstrings and sciatic nerve, this stretch begins on a mat with a cushion under your head and neck. With your knees bent and your legs hip width apart, bend one knee up to your chest. Grasping the hamstring, slowly straighten the knee while pulling your foot toward you. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Lie on your stomach, propping yourself up on your elbows. Keep your shoulders back, your neck long, and your back extended. Then, push down on your hands to arch up your back. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
Standing up, raise one leg onto a stable object, such as a step or a sturdy chair. Keep the leg straight, with your foot flexed so that your toes are pointing straight up. Keeping your back completely straight, lean forward and hold for 20-30 seconds.
Laying on your back with a small cushion under your head, bend your left leg and rest your right foot on your left thigh. Then, grasp the left thigh, and pull it toward you. Keep your hips straight and your tailbone on the floor. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Along with exercises and physical therapy, chiropractic treatment has been shown to produce improvement in sciatica symptoms. In one 2010 study, 60% of sciatica patients who received chiropractic care three times a week for four weeks experienced the same degree of relief as those who underwent surgery.
If you’re struggling with sciatica pain, reach out to us any time at Intero Chiropractic. We’re always available for a 100% free consultation, along with a full neurological exam for only $20. For sciatica patients, chiropractic care can be a significant part of an overall regimen to manage and reduce pain during recovery.