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Reducing Sciatica Pain

Sciatica can be extremely painful and interfere in your everyday life making even the simplest tasks difficult. The Sciatic nerve, which is the largest in the body, roots from the lower spine in vertebrates S1-3 and L4-5 and extends running through the glutes and hamstring straight down to the foot. What causes Sciatica pain? There could be a number of factors including inflammation, compression or pitching of the roots within the lumbar region of the spin, A herniated disk or narrowing of the spin. Sciatica is a type of Lumbar Radiculopathy and there are 4 different categories of sciatica: Bilateral, alternating, chronic and acute. Each of these cause numbness and pain throughout the glues and legs which may include a burning sensation, electric shock type pain, tingling and pins and needles

The great news is that with proper treatment you can eliminate the pain or greatly reduce its severity. The first rule of thumb is not to go overly aggressive on completing the movements with exercise and stretching. Here are my top recommendations and below are my top 5 stretches.

  • You want to have slow and controlled movements with proper form to avoid risking further injury.

  • Hold each exercise 10 seconds

  • Practice stretching 3-5 times throughout the day for 5-10 minutes

  • Complete exercises with the ROM (range of motion) that does not cause anymore pain

  • Gentle stretching of the lower back and hips can help relieve pressure and pain and improve your ROM

  • Remember to breath, exhaling on excursion

  • Foam Rolling is great for tension and pain relief

  • Swimming is a great exercise that can relieve some tension and pain.

  • Walking can help although this can be difficult when pain and numbness is flared up

  • Avoid high impact activities, running, jogging, jumping, lifting both legs, squatting and weight training with any movements of lifting from the caudal region.

Here are my top 5 lumbar spine stretch recommendations:

  1. Knees to Chest Stretch

  • Lay on you back, both legs flat on the floor, bring one knee up to your chest, gently pull your knee towards your chest, keep the opposite leg flat on the floor. repeat on opposite leg, and alternatively you can bring both knees up together.

2. Cobra Stretch

  • Lay on you stomach, palms flat on the floor push down on your palms to fully extend your elbows this will create a arch in your lower spine, keep your hips on the floor

3. Cat Cow Stretch

  • On your hands and knees, knees under hips and hands under shoulders, inhale tilt your hips outward while extending your head back, hold 10 seconds, exhale and bring both your head and hips down arching your spine.

4. Windshield Wiper Stretch

  • Laying on you back, with bent knees, feet flat on the floor and arms extended out to the sides, rotate your hips and knees as far as you can to the side while keeping your arm extended and flat on the ground. Bring your knees back to starting position and repeat opposite side

5. Pelvic Tilt

  • lay on your back and have both knees bent and feet flat on floor. Engage your core and lower your back until flat on floor, tilt the pelvis up hold for 10seconds, repeat.

In general these 5 stretches are just a small part of many exercises you can incorporate into your sciatica treatment plan.

keep Strong and stay blessed!


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