Sciatica exercises, if done properly, can stop sciatica pain in its tracks. The problem is that most people start with the wrong form and the wrong intention, falling into habitual exercises that can do more harm than good. By following the below advice and exercises, you should be able to determine if you're doing proper sciatica exercises. NOTE: Check with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Many people think they have sciatica when they do not.
- Bed Rest - Inactivity is okay when sciatica first flares up, but after a day you will definitely need to open the area with proper stretches. The longer stretching is avoided, the longer the pain will linger. Sciatica is mainly due to compression on the nerve from such afflictions as a herniated disc, dehydrated tissue, pulled muscles or other structural trauma to the lower spine. Although bed rest and anti-inflammatory medicine may be one approach, stretching and opening up specific areas offers excellent results.
- Bi-Lateral - Each stretch should be applied to both legs, even if only one has pain.
- Wait and Breathe - Hold each stretch for 8 to 10 seconds.
- Breathe Correctly - Breathe in your nose and out your mouth.
- Down Time - Rest for 5 to 10 seconds between each stretch.
- Stretch in Sets - Complete three to five sets of stretches for each leg. Remember, each stretch will get a little easier the more you do it. Do not be concerned if you can't do the full stretch at first. Any attempt will help.
Be sure and do the following stretches daily. Stretching when you do not have pain will help alleviate pain easier and faster when it arises.
- Cross Leg Stretch - Stand straight without bending your knees. Cross one leg over the other. Bend at the waist and try to touch your toes. If you can, grab the back of your thighs and bring your chest as close to your front thighs as you can. You will immediately feel the affected legs release the hamstrings and relieve the pain.
- Sitting Stretch - While sitting in a chair, cross your legs in a "T" position. Bend from the waist as if a string is pulling your chest down. Go as far as you can go. Breathe into the stretch.
- Hanging Groin Stretch - Lie on a high table or bed. Drop your leg off one side, being sure to let the whole leg hang from the buttocks so you feel a deep stretch in the pubic area. If your lower back presents pain, stop and readjust.
- Sitting Groin Stretch - Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the bottom of your feet up against one another. Bring your heels as close to your groin as possible, resting them on the floor. Gently push your knees outward with your elbows, being sure to keep your back straight and the bottom of your feet together. Your heels remain stationary.
- Stomach Down Hip Extensions - Lie face down, support with elbows bent and palms down, and raise each leg while bending at the knee.