Exercises For Sciatica Leg Pain: How To Fully Recover Safely
Sciatica is the unbearable pain that can be felt from the lower spine to the buttock which eventually goes down to the back of the leg. Fortunately, there are several exercises for sciatica leg pain that you can do to reduce the pain. You can start some daily workouts to improve this problem.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica often takes place when a herniated disk or a bone spur in the spine squeezes some parts of the nerve. When this happens, expect pain, inflammation, and numbness to occur in the leg.
The pain that you might feel can be described as extreme and severe that could last for a few weeks with treatment and exercises. Sciaticas that are linked with pre-existing leg weakness or bowel abnormalities might be recommended for surgical procedures.
There are no other symptoms of sciatica aside from the pain and numbness that you might feel while it’s attacking. The tingling pain will typically start from your lower back and will gradually crawl down to the buttock and backside of your leg. You will definitely feel the pain moving in your nerves, it’s as if a foreign object is moving through a pathway inside your body.
The level of sciatica pain can vary. Others experience mild sensation while others feel sharp and piercing pain in their nerves. Some people describe it as an electric shock that just happens unexpectedly, coughing and sneezing can also affect its severity while being idle for a long period of time can worsen the pain.
Causes of Sciatica Leg Pain
Many factors can cause sciatica leg pain. Before we proceed to the discussion of sciatica pain relief and exercises, let us first find out why this condition occurs.
- Age- As we grow old, our body, particularly the spin, is also changing. Sometimes, our spine cannot adapt to these changes, hence, causing sciatica.
- Overweight- The excess body fat adds up to the pressure in the spine. This triggers sciatica significantly.
- Daily activities- If your job requires you to twist your back or if you are required to carry heavy loads all the time, sciatica might conclude as well.
- Sitting for a long period of time- This is one of the most common causes of sciatica. People who have little to no physical activities or are always sitting have a higher chance of having sciatica leg pain.
- Diabetes- You are more at risk of nerve damage if you have irregular sugar levels in your body.
Complications Of Sciatica Leg Pain
Most sciatica patients can recover fully and regain their whole body functions after the treatments. However, if the condition is left untreated, several complications might follow, such as:
- permanent numbness in the leg
- weakness in the leg
- depleting bowel functions
Exercises For Sciatica Leg Pain
Doctors highly recommend exercises for sciatica leg pain to their patients. This is to ensure that they will be able to manage the pain that still might occur even after professional treatment. Sciatica pain relief medications can also be prescribed by your doctor if needed, the most common drugs to reduce the pain are:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Muscle relaxants
- Anti-seizure medications
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Even though these drugs are effective in helping patients manage sciatica pain, exercises like piriformis stretch and anything that can provide relaxation to your buttock and legs are still highly suggested. Piriformis stretch is a kind of physical stretch that targets the lower back, buttock, hip, and nerves in the back leg.
You may refer to the stretches below to reduce the pain caused by sciatica:
- Reclining pose. This is a typical yoga pose that targets the hips. The reclining pose is commonly recommended to new patients who are just starting their sciatica pain relief exercises. Start by lying on your back, bring your one leg up to the right angle, place your right toe on top of the left leg knee with your hands behind the right thigh, lock your fingers and hold the pose for a while.
- Sitting pose. Sit on the floor while keeping your legs straight parallel to the floor. Place your right toe on top of your left leg knee. Hold your right leg by using both of your hands, now gently lean your body forward to your thigh. Stay still for about 30 seconds and do the same procedure to your other leg.
- Standing piriformis stretch. Stand firmly and put the affected leg on top of the knee of your other leg (technically forming a number 4), lower your hips at a 45-degree angle until you’re on the ground. Support your body by doing this against a wall.
- Groin adductor stretch. This is another sitting position stretch. To start, sit on the floor and keep both of your legs straight in front of you. Angle your torso toward the ground and place both of your palms next to each other on the ground as well. Lean your body forward and rest your elbows. Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds. Stop immediately if pain occurs.
- Spinal stretch. Keep your left leg straight but bend your right leg with your foot flat on the ground. Place your left elbow on the right side of your right knee to help you turn your body to the right. Hold a few seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Side clam. Lie on the side of your body that is not affected by sciatica pain, place the affected leg on top of the other one and bend your lower legs back, slowly lift up your right knee while keeping your position steady. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times.
Before trying these sciatica exercises, make sure to consult your physician first. Not all kinds of sciatica pain relief exercises are safe to perform especially without professional supervision. If sudden pain takes place while you are exercising, stop, and inform your doctor right away. Practising on a treadmill every day for half an hour might improve your leg strength.