If you have sciatica pain, there is no mistaking it. Whether you feel that darting pain down your legs or the pain takes you to your knees, sciatica is no joke. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with the pain, including exercises for sciatica pain.
It is estimated that around 40% of Americans will suffer from sciatic pain in their lifetime. Whether the pain is from an injury, pregnancy, or something else, when that pain hits, you will try just about anything to get rid of it.
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Sciatica Pain Overview
Sciatica pain is a pervasive problem among millions of Americans. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down both of your legs. This large nerve can easily be distressed and can bring on an extreme amount of pain.
Causes of Sciatica Pain
A variety of things can cause sciatic pain. Ultimately, sciatica pain is discomfort at the base of the spine:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis. In this condition, the lower spinal canal narrows.
- Degenerative Disc Disease. With the breakdown of the discs, the cushioning that protects your vertebrae is missing.
- Spondylolisthesis. If you have this condition, a vertebra will slip in front of another vertebra.
- Muscle Spasm.
If you have sciatica pain from these or any other problems, some things will make it worse. If you are overweight, don’t get enough exercise, wear high heels, or aren’t sleeping on an appropriate mattress, you might be in more pain than necessary.
Sciatica Pain Diagnosis
There is no test for sciatica pain. Speaking to your doctor about your symptoms will help narrow down what is going on. In some instances, like pregnancy, a doctor will easily be able to tell it is the sciatic nerve causing you pain. In other cases, your doctor might need to dig a little deeper.
Sciatica Pain Treatment
While there is no cure for sciatica pain, there are specific stretches and movements that will help relieve pain. They might have funny names, but they can work wonders. Try any, or all, of these exercises for sciatica pain.
Reclining Pigeon Pose
In this pose, your goal is to open your hips. To bring relief, lay flat on your back and pull one leg up to form a 90-degree angle. Grip your hands behind your thigh and lock your fingers. Lift the other leg and place the first ankle on your lifted other leg. Hold for as long as possible. Now switch legs.
Sitting Pigeon Pose
Like the reclining pose, you are aiming to open your hips but from a sitting position. This stretch is more advanced than the reclining version, so work your way up to this.
Start out sitting with your legs straight in front of you. Bend one leg, placing that ankle on the other knee. Lean forward towards your thighs and hold the stretch. Repeat for the other leg.
Forward Pigeon Pose
This stretch is the most advanced of the pigeon poses. In this version, you will start kneeling on the floor on your hands and knees. Pick up one of your legs and place it on the ground under your chest. Your thigh should be perpendicular to your body with your knee bent.
Stretch your other leg out as far behind you as possible. Ensure your foot is on the ground with pointed toes. Slowly shift your weight from your upper to lower body. Then, sit up straight with your hands squarely beside your body.
Breath deeply; during the exhale, lean forward. Make sure you are supporting your weight with your arms when needed. Repeat all of this with the other leg under your body.
Knee to Opposite Shoulder
In this relatively simple stretch, you should notice a surprising amount of relief. Lie flat on your back with your legs straight out and your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Bend one leg and place your hands behind the knee.
Using gentle force, pull that leg to the opposite shoulder and hold for at least 20-30 seconds. Stop pulling when the strain becomes painful, though you do want to feel the stretch. This stretch should bring relief, not pain. Do three to five repetitions, then focus on the other leg.
Sitting Spinal Stretch
This stretch is used to open up space in your spine when the pain is caused by pressure on your nerve. Start seated on the ground with your legs out in front of your and your feet pointing up.
Bend one knee and put your foot flat on the ground on the other side of your opposite leg. Put your opposite elbow on the outside of your bent knee. You should be using your arm to twist your body towards the bent knee slightly.
Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds for several repetitions then focus on your other leg.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
A common discomfort from sciatica pain is a tight feeling in your hamstrings. To ease this discomfort, put one foot on a raised surface no higher than the level of your hips. Use a chair or steps, or something similar. Do not overextend your knee.
Lean forward towards your raised foot. As you lean forward, you will feel more and more of a stretch. You do not want to feel pain, but you do want to feel the stretch. For a more thorough stretch, drop the hip of the raised leg. Hold this for 30 seconds then try the other leg.
Whatever is causing your sciatica pain, some things can bring relief. Any of these exercises for sciatica pain should help with the pain and bring significant relief.
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