Health & Fitness
The Newsletter About Achieving and Maintaining Optimal Well-Being
“Don’t Let Sciatica Be A Pain In The Back!” HOW TO BEAT SCIATICA PAIN
Do you ever feel like it is a challenge to get moving in the morning, or are you now careful about the way you bend down to pick something up? This is a clear sign that your spine is not functioning the way it should. The good news is that you can dramatically improve the way you feel and eliminate that sciatic pain or back pain for good! Physical therapy exercises incorporating a combination of strengthening, stretching, and aerobic conditioning are a central component of almost any sciatica treatment plan. When patients engage in a regular program of gentle exercises, they can recover more quickly from sciatica pain and are less likely to have future episodes of pain. Sciatica exercises usually focus on three key areas: strengthening, stretching, and aerobic conditioning. Strengthening Exercises Many exercises can help strengthen the spinal column and the supporting muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Most of these back exercises focus not only on the lower back, but also the abdominal (stomach) muscles and gluteus (buttock) and hip muscles. Strong core muscles can provide pain relief because they support the spine, keeping it in alignment and facilitating movements that extend or twist the spine with less chance of injury or damage. Stretching Exercises Stretching is usually recommended to alleviate sciatic pain. Stretches
for sciatica are designed to target muscles that cause pain when they are tight and inflexible. Hamstring stretching is almost always an important part of a sciatica exercise program. Most people do not stretch these muscles, which extend from the pelvis to the knee in the back of the thigh, in their daily activities. Another stretch that is often helpful in easing sciatica is the Bird Dog move: After getting on their hands and knees, individuals extend one arm and the opposite leg. The arm and leg extensions are then alternated. A more advanced version of this exercise is the Plank Bird Dog move, in which the extensions are done once the person is in the plank position on their hands and toes. Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise Some form of low-impact cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, swimming, or pool therapy is usually a component of recovery, as aerobic activity encourages the exchange of fluids and nutrients to help create a better healing environment. Aerobic conditioning also has the unique benefit of releasing endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, which helps reduce sciatic pain. These types of exercise may be done separately or in combination. If you are suffering from sciatica pain and need treatment, contact us to schedule an appointment and return to a pain free, active lifestyle.
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