Did you know that in most cases resting up in bed will worsen your sciatica condition? Nine times out of ten you will be much better off engaging in a regular program of gentle sciatica exercises to reduce your pain.
Bed rest is not your best bet
It is quite understandable that many people head off to bed when they get an onset of sciatica pain. It certainly seems logical that lying down and resting will help the back to relax and repair itself.
Well, it turns out that in many cases this course of action can actually do you more harm than good. After extended periods of inactivity the back muscles will weaken and the spine will lose some of its suppleness. Both of which will increase your chances of strain and further back injury.
Fortunately there is a great alternative to resting up. One that is free, easy to do and above all, is virtually guaranteed to improve your condition.
What’s this alternative? Gentle, targeted sciatica exercises.
What are sciatica exercises and how to do they help?
Most sciatica exercises are focused on building support for the back by strengthening the abdominal and back muscles. Strengthening this “core” area using sciatica exercises will give your back the support it needs to manage the strain of everyday life.
Sciatica exercises also focus on stretching muscles in the lower back, thighs and hamstrings. Stretches are an essential component of preventative sciatica treatment because they help to maintain the suppleness and tone of the muscles that hold the spine in position.
What sciatica exercises should you do and how often?
Before we continue it is worth mentioning that since there are many different underlining causes of sciatica symptoms, you should always consult with a qualified medical practitioner before choosing a course of sciatica treatment. That said, in the vast majority of cases, sciatica exercises are beneficial to treating the condition.
The following videos by Joel Sanders are a great introduction into some simple, low impact sciatica exercises. They are designed so that you can start right away in your own home, with required any costly exercise equipment.
Sciatica Exercise 1 – Basic Stretching
This first video takes you through a couple of basic stretching positions. These are great to get you warmed up for the remaining exercises.
Always start out very gently and build up your range of movement over time.
Sciatica Exercise #2 – Strengthen Abdominal and Back Muscles
The second exercise video demonstrates some gentle exercises that strengthen the abdominal and back muscles.
If this form of sciatica exercise sounds daunting then just take a look at the video to see how easy it can be. Again, take it very easy to begin with and increase the intensity of the exercise over time.
Sciatica Exercise #3 – Gentle Hamstring Stretches
In the third video Joel demonstrates some highly effective hamstring stretches. This exercise is particularly effective for relieving sciatica pain.
Want to find out more?
If you found these exercises useful I highly recommend you take a look at the book Stop Sciatica Now by Pamela Kihm. Through the book, you can learn more about how gentle sciatica exercises and minor changes in body positioning can be effective treatments that eliminate sciatica pain.
Thank you so much for these stretching exercises. I have this problem in my right back, hip and leg due to a shortened hamstring. The problem is getting worse of late. I work in the homecare industry and am in and out of my car many times with each shift (up to 25 per shift). I find this aggravates the condition and wonder if there is a particular way of getting out and getting in to my vehicle…….I am aware and make sure both feet are firmly on the ground before alighting. – Karen
I have strong sciatic pain in the buttock – almost feels like muscle pain. These seem to help. But one thing I cannot find help for is a sharp pain on the left side of my leg – low in the calf reging but more to the front. As if it was in the bone. I have had MRIs showing L5 problems and epidurals but this pain remains. Do you have an exercise forthe LG radiated lower leg pain. – Phil