In many cases, upon diagnosis of sciatica, an exercise program is recommended. Exercise is considered to be an integral part of a sciatica treatment plan. Sciatica exercises are very effective and can provide relief like nothing else. Since inflammation of the sciatic nerve is the main cause of the condition, the main aim of most exercise routines is to help relieve strain or pressure in this area. Basically, sciatica exercises serve two major purposes:
1. Reduce the pain as soon as possible
2. Condition the body to help prevent any recurrences of the condition or the pain
Although the idea of exercising one’s body when it’s suffering from sciatica may seem ironic, exercise is actually just as important as bed rest because it is in fact more efficient in reducing pain than plain rest. While patients may rest for a couple of days, any more prolonged inactivity will often only worsen the case. Without proper movements or exercise, the muscles in the back including the spinal structures would all start to weaken or atrophy. In this case, they will be less competent in providing support to the back. If the muscles are not properly conditioned, the circulation of blood will also be impaired, thus worsening the injury and increasing the strain. This can also prompt more painful sensations to course through different parts of the body. Likewise, active exercise also plays an important role in making sure that the condition of the spinal discs is ideal. Movement encourages the exchange of fluids and nutrients within the discs. This keeps the discs healthy and prevents any strain from damaging the sciatic nerve.
Different types/features of a Sciatic Exercise Program
There are many aspects to a sciatica exercise program. Nonetheless, as mentioned, the combination of workout routines only target two things: reduce pain and properly condition the body.
Core muscle strength
The majority of sciatic exercises are focused on the development of strength in the back and abdominal muscles. Strengthening muscles in these areas help provide more support to the back, thus reducing the chances of back injury or back pain. More importantly, stretching exercises that are aimed at addressing sciatica focus on the muscles that cause pain. Since these muscles would probably be inflexible and tight, the exercise tries to ease such tightness and conditions the muscles into preferable states. When patients do regular conditioning exercises, they are able to strengthen their body and the recovery process is expedited. People also become more immune to the pain.
This type of exercise is beneficial to any type of sciatica. Basically, the hamstring stretching exercise helps the body recover regardless of how mild or severethe sciatica diagnosis is. The hamstrings basically refer to the muscles that can be found in the back of the thigh. If these muscles are tight, they can only add stress or pressure on the lower back. This worsens most back conditions and can eventually lead to sciatica. If the hamstrings are exercised constantly, then there would be less pressure or strain in the lower back area, thus lessening the chances of incurring sciatica or worsening the condition.
Aerobic exercises also have the capacity to condition the body and help make it stronger to support the lower extremities. Further, aside from being able to condition the muscles, aerobic exercises are in fact good for overall body fitness. Walking is a good form of aerobic exercise and it’s also ideal for the back because it is a low impact routine and it increases the circulation of blood.
There are many types of exercises intended for sciatica. Depending on the condition, there may be variations in the routines. The key is to stick with a regimen every day until your back is sufficiently strengthened and all of the supporting areas become more flexible.