Good news: 90% of sciatica patients recovery without surgery.
Staying active and doing daily stretches can make a huge difference in your sciatica pain and recovery time. Most of these stretching exercise involve your lower back and hamstrings, as well as your core. Let’s go over sciatica and how to prevent it.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica is distinct from other back pain in the sense that it affects your lower back and your legs. You may feel a sharp pain that resonates throughout your entire lumbar region and downward. This happens because your sciatic nerve passes from your lower back to your hips, buttocks, and legs. All these areas can be affected by sciatica.
Sciatica is caused whenever your sciatic nerve becomes pinched. This typically happens with a herniated disc or a bone spur, though it can also be caused by an infection, injury, disc disease or tumor.
Be sure to consult a doctor so you can get the right diagnosis and ensure you have no underlying diagnosis. Also, you should seek urgent medical care if you have sciatica symptoms after a serious injury.
What are the common risk factors of sciatica?
Sciatica is often exacerbated by conditions such as pregnancy and obesity. In addition, aging, a sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes can also make sciatica more frequent. To prevent sciatica, it’s important to exercise regularly and try to lose weight in order to take pressure off your back.
Sciatica can also be worsened by bad posture and heavy lifting. Make sure you’re not slouching during the day or positioning yourself in an unnatural position. You should also avoid heavy lifting. If you have to lift something, be sure to bend your knees and use your abs to lift it.
Now, let’s turn our attention to stretches for sciatica sufferers.
7 Sciatica Stretches for Lower Back Pain
You can incorporate these stretches into your daily morning routine for long-lasting relief from sciatica. If you’re pregnant and suffering from sciatica, you can adapt these stretches to whatever feels comfortable to you. (You might also try some of these yoga poses to help with pain relief and stress.)
1. Pigeon poses (reclining, sitting, forward)
Pigeon poses are extremely good for getting quick pain relief and preventing future lower back pain. There are several variations of pigeon pose that would be good to include in your morning routine:
- Reclining pigeon pose: This pose involves lying on your back. You should first pull your right knee into a right angle. Then, as you lift your left leg, your right ankle should lock with your left knee. Hold this position, then switch legs.
- Sitting pigeon pose: This variation involves sitting down with your legs extended straight out. Take your right ankle and place it over your left knee. Hold this position, then switch legs.
- Forward pigeon pose: Kneel on all fours. Then move your right leg in front of your body at a right angle, extending your left leg down and back. Try to lean into the stretch and support your weight with your arms first. Hold, then switch legs.
2. Knee to chest
For this stretch, lie down on your back. Then, lift your right knee and pull it to your chest. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, then switch legs.
You can also take both knees to your chest at the same time. Just be sure to keep your neck and shoulders loose, not tensed.
3. Sciatic knee stretch
This is a good variation of the knee to chest stretch. For this exercise, lie down on your back. Then bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Take one knee and bring it to your chest. Try straightening the knee and holding it for up to 30 seconds. Then switch knees.
4. Back extensions
For back extensions, start by lying on your stomach with your elbow bent at your sides. Then, arch your back by pushing on your hands down and lifting your shoulders up. Hold and repeat a dozen times. Make sure you keep your neck aligned and look down.
5. Sitting spinal stretch
For this stretch, sit with your legs extended straight out. Then take your right knee and place your right foot on the opposite side of your left knee. Then stretch by using your left elbow and placing it on the opposite side of your right knee. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then switch knees.
6. Standing hamstring stretch
Finally, any hamstring stretches are great for your lower back pain. A common stretch is the standing hamstring stretch, which is done by lifting your leg on a rail, step or surface at hip height. Lean into this stretch as much you can without feeling pain. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
7. Take a Tai Chi or yoga class
Some of the best stretches for your lower back are found in Tai Chi and yoga. Consider signing up for a weekly class to help strengthen and stretch your lower back muscles.
In particular, Tai Chi has great results when it comes to improving flexibility, strength, balance. Yoga is also a good option, as many lower back stretches like pigeon pose come directly from yoga. Yoga is also great exercise for your entire body.
Your sciatica doesn’t have to take over your life. By doing daily exercises, you can stay pain-free while preventing future discomfort. However, if your lower back pain doesn’t go away, you should see a professional chiropractor.
A chiropractic clinic will look at your specific situation and determine the right care plan for your needs. Generally speaking, a chiropractor can help you analyze all health areas, including diet, exercise, stretching, supplements, and possible adjustments.
Take control of your sciatica with these daily stretches!