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Exercises for Relieving Sciatica

[21 May 2009 | No Comments | 9 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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There are a number of different conditions that can cause sciatica pain, which by itself is a general term indicating pain caused by compression or irritation of one or more nerves that exit from lower spine and extend up to the feet.

Some episodes of sciatic pain subside on their own within a couple of weeks but quick recourse to sciatic nerve treatment is highly recommended to obtain fast relief and to avoid future complications.

Spine specialists who specialize in sciatic nerve treatment often recommend exercises as part of the regular treatment to alleviate pain. It is essential to get a proper diagnosis done, because, however rare it may be, sciatica pain can be caused by serious conditions like tumor or infection which require immediate medical attention.

Specific exercises for pain relief and to reduce frequent reoccurrences have given very good results in the past. As part of sciatica alternative remedies, these exercises are much better than bed rest. Resting and the resultant inactivity weaken back muscles, which lead to back injury and strain as the back muscles and spinal structures are increasingly less able to support the back.

Sciatica exercises concentrate on strengthening the abdominal and back muscles to provide relief and prove helpful in preventing future episodes too. By increasing awareness of the position of the spine, sciatic exercises attempt to motivate patients to

1. Assume the most comfortable stance
2. Train the lumbar spine to remain stable when flexed
3. Indulge in stretching of the hamstring and piriformis muscle to prevent tightening of the lower back and tension from hip to foot
4. Restore the range of motion in sacroiliac joint which can be limited if the joint is inflamed

Sciatic exercises are designed differently for each condition so as to effectively address the different causes of sciatic pain, such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, isthmic spondylolisthesis, piriformis syndrome, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. For example, herniated discs require extension exercises that arch the spine backward rather than flex it forward. Similarly, abdominal strengthening exercises which perk up overall posture give better relief to patients suffering from spinal stenosis.

To get the maximum benefit, sciatic exercises must be done correctly and regularly, preferably twice a day. Close attention to the directions regarding posture and body mechanisms is necessary. In fact, it is highly advisable to seek advice from a physical therapist before starting and this should be followed up with regular consultations.

Sciatica management should actually become a part of your daily living. Along with exercises patients are advised to make changes in their daily lifestyle in order to reduce stress on the lower back. These changes could include using good ergonomics while lifting, maintaining proper postures, ensuring support to lower back while sitting and refraining from standing for long periods. In case sciatic exercises are continued even after relief from the current flare up, they minimize the risk of reoccurrence of fresh episodes.

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