Sciatica exercises focus on relieving pain in the lower back and legs, which are associated with damage of the radicular nerve. In most cases, exercise is more beneficial than bed rest; the movement will promote the exchange of fluids in the spinal discs, while also strengthening the back muscles and providing support for the back. The exercises can also prevent the recurrence of the pain. Perform these exercises on a daily basis, but only after consulting a doctor or a chiropractic specialist.
1. Press Ups
The press-up exercises are beneficial for leg, back, and buttocks pain.
Lie on your stomach with your arms bent and palms on the floor. The buttocks and legs should be relaxed, while the abdominal muscles can be contracted.
Press your upper body up using your arms and abdominal muscles, while the legs are resting on the floor. Stay in this position for 1 to 3 seconds. With time, you may stay in this position for 10 seconds. Repeat these exercises 10 times, twice per day.
2. Extension Exercises
Extension exercises may also relieve back and leg pain.
Lie on your stomach with the arms and legs stretched out. Raise one arm and the opposite leg, holding them in this position for 3 seconds. Lower them to the ground, repeating the same movement with the other limbs. A series of 10, performed twice per day is sufficient to promote the exchange of fluids in the spinal discs.
3. Curl-Up Exercises
The curl-up exercises strengthen the abdominal muscles, which will provide support for the back, relieving the pain.
The curl-ups are performed on the floor. Lie on your back with the knees bent. The arms may be folded on the chest or held at the back of the head, providing support for the neck (recommended if you have neck pain).
Curl up, lifting the head and shoulders from the ground and maintaining this position for 3 seconds. For starters, 10 curl-ups are sufficient, but you can advance towards performing 20 to 30 curl-ups.
4. Leg Raises
The leg raise exercises are beneficial to strengthen the lower abdominal muscles, which can support the back and diminish the pain.
Lie on your back with your hands behind the head; alternatively you can place a pillow under your neck. While tightening the abdominal muscles, you should try to raise one leg a few inches above the ground. Hold the leg in this position for 2 to 5 seconds and then release it to the ground. Raise the other leg in the same manner.
For a more intensive workout, circle the raised leg in the air 5 times in one direction and then 5 times in the opposite direction.
6. Leg Lifts in the Water
Water exercises are also recommended if you suffer from sciatica pain. The exercises (i.e. leg lifts) can focus on working the stomach muscles and provide a good stretch for the legs.
Perform some leg lifts in the pool to work your abdominal muscles. With your back to the side of the pool, extend your arms along the edge of the pool. Tighten your abdominal muscles and try lifting both legs. You may also bend your knees to the chest or swing your legs to the left and right.
Perform 10 lifts with the knees bent and 10 lifts keeping your legs straight.