Sciatica includes a number of symptoms, which appear due to the sciatic nerve being compressed. This is a common occurrence in the lumbar disc syndrome, with a herniated disc compressing the respective nerve. It is important to understand that sciatica is a collection of symptoms and not a diagnosis per say. The symptomatology can be greatly improved through physical therapy, manual therapy and other forms of mobilization. Usually, surgical intervention should be left as a last resort. Keep on reading to discover the safest exercises that you can perform for this condition.
Neural mobilization and treadmill training for sciatica
According to an article published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, neural mobilization is an effective treatment measure for those who suffer from sciatica. The authors of the article draw attention to the fact that, in the past, sciatica exercises concentrated exclusively on pain relief. Nowadays, the treatment objectives have become more complex, as therapists are interested not only in pain relief but also in increasing a person’s range of motion.
Neural mobilization is actually a form of manual therapy, being based on the mobilization of spinal joints. Among the safest exercises included as part of this therapy form, there are straight leg raises (pictured), combined with the adduction of the hip. Performed on a regular basis, neural mobilization can bring the necessary pain relief and increase the range of motion in the hip joint. It can restore previous functionality and increase the blood flow to the affected joints. Moreover, it can break adhesions, increasing overall mobility. The only downside is that it is effective on the symptoms and not on the root of the problem (nerve compression).
Treadmill training might also represent a solution for sciatica patients, being an efficient method to strengthen spinal muscles and prevent the progression of the spinal disc herniation. According to an article published in the Brazilian Physiotherapy Magazine, treadmill training is beneficial not only for those diagnosed with sciatica but also to those who have suffered from physical injuries affecting the sciatic nerve.
What are the safest exercises for sciatica?
Physical therapists are capable of guiding you through an exercise program that is suitable to your current condition. The piriformis stretch (pictured) is one of the safest exercises that one can perform, as it allows for the deep muscles of the hip to be stretched. You should also consider exercises that stretch the gluteal muscles, as these are often affected by the inflamed sciatic nerve. Exercises that target the stretching of hip flexors, outer hip muscles and lower back muscles are recommended as well.
Exercises to Avoid
If you have sciatica, there are certain exercises that you must absolutely avoid. The absolutely worse is the deadlift (pictured), which is a favorite among bodybuilders and power athletes. It puts a lot of strain on the back and spinal cord. Another one is the bent-over row, which can upset the structure and alignment of the spine.
You should also avoid heavy/full stretches of the hamstring – mild stretching can help but you need to be very careful not to over-reach as the hamstring muscles are very sensitive during a sciatica flare. In addition, weighted squats should be avoided during this time because the pressure of the barbell on the back can cause compression of the spinal nerve and possibly damage the intervertebral discs.
Finally, you need to avoid high impact exercises such as sprinting or high intensity interval training during periods of sciatica pain. Instead, choose low impact aerobic exercises such as swimming or light walking/treadmill.
The most important thing that you have to remember is that sciatica is a collection of symptoms, which are suggestive of nerve compression (often due to disc herniation). Always choose exercises that have been recommended by a physical therapist, as these are the safest to perform. It is equally essential to discover the root of the problem and seek out the proper treatment alternatives.
1 Unusual Stretch DESTROYS Back Pain & Sciatica
My good friend Emily was just 12 years old the night she thought she was going to die…
Out in the middle of the pitch-black New Mexico desert, suddenly paralyzed and surrounded by shattered glass…
…she can still remember counting each breath, wondering if it was going to be her last.
Fighting for her life that night, Emily had no idea her nightmare had only just begun, as the events from that horrific night would come back over 15 years later to nearly destroy her life…
…and that’s when something miraculous happened.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Emily stumbled onto this 1 unusual stretch that completely eliminated her back pain and sciatica, and just in time to save herself from dangerous and life-threatening surgery:
And this doesn’t only work for Emily, or those that are considering surgery… this surprising stretch is now helping thousands of back pain and sciatica sufferers from all over the world…
It worked for Emily and now works for thousands of others… it can work for you too. Just do what Emily did here: