You’re fit and healthy. You eat properly and try to exercise regularly. So why does your back hurt so much? Your doctor has diagnosed it as a severe attack of sciatica – the pain is unceasing, you can’t stand, sit or lie down comfortably and you’ve been suffering for far too long. Is there any recommended exercise for sciatica out there? You’ve already gone the medication route, none of which relieved the pain for more than an hour and there’s no apparent improvement. Doctor says it will go away, but when?
You have come to the right place – there is specific exercise for sciatica. But first, let’s understand what sciatica is. Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body and is about as thick as your finger. It extends from the base of your spine and branches down into your legs. If there is anything – a muscle or a vertebrae compressing or pinching that nerve, it becomes irritated and you have pain – frequently severe. Once it’s been correctly diagnosed so that you understand the cause of it all, you can go ahead and plan some exercise for sciatica which will work for you.
There are three separate groups of muscles we need to target and we must understand the role each plays in supporting the body. The first group is the abdominal muscles. Because these are responsible for pelvis and lower-back strength, we need to find an exercise for sciatica so they become stronger and more flexible. But a word of caution here – doing ab crunches and sit-ups will actually cause more pain because those exercises involve the hip flexors which may tighten up and lose flexibility. Let’s take a look at those next.
Your hip flexor muscles are responsible for flexing or bending your leg at the point it attaches to your body. If your abdominal muscles lack strength, the hip flexors try to take over and become overworked. So another specific exercise for sciatica targets the hip flexors. If they tighten up, the curve in your lower back is increased, placing stress on it and pressing on the sciatic nerve. They work together with your abs – but do a different job, therefore a different exercise for sciatica is needed.
The third muscle is your piriformis muscle, located deep in your buttocks. Your sciatic nerve runs right through it on both sides of your body. If these tighten, spasm or become inflexible, the nerve is compressed and again – you have pain. All of it caused by the pinching of one nerve. So, depending on the origin of the pinching, the exercise for sciatica will vary a little. But the whole object of our exercise for sciatica is to stretch and strengthen those three groups of muscles.
Strong abdominal muscles and balanced hip flexors provide strength, suppleness and stability in your lower back and exercise for sciatica will do this for you. The key is knowing exactly what to stretch and strengthen in these three muscle groups, how to do it effectively – and when. You want to be free of sciatica pain as soon as possible and this is where your personal trainer or doctor can help you. They can provide you with each specific exercise for sciatica, targeting these three muscle groups and if you perform the exercises regularly, you will be free of your sciatica pain in a few days – hopefully never to return.