When sciatica pain is at its most severe, patients may find the pain hard to bear and may need to rest for a day or two. However, resting for longer than one or two days is usually not advisable, as prolonged rest or inactivity will usually make the sciatic pain worse. Regular movement is important to provide healing nutrients to the injured structures that are causing the pain. Chiropractic care can correct the cause of the sciatica and just as important, an appropriate exercise program will over time reduce stress on the low back and help alleviate sciatic pain. When patients engage in a regular program of gentle strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises, they can recover more quickly from a flare up of sciatica and likely to prevent future episodes of pain.
Sciatica exercises usually focus on three key areas. The first are 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 back, but also the abdominal (stomach) muscles and gluteus (buttocks) and hip muscles. Taken together, these strong ‘core’ muscles can provide pain relief because they provide strong support for the spine, keeping it in alignment and facilitating movements that extend or twist the spine with less chance of injury or damage.
Next in importance are stretching exercises. Stretching is usually an exercise 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 usually an important part of a sciatica exercise program as well as stretching the psoas. Go to our website at www.southingtonchiropractor.com to get more information on stretching these muscles.
Low impact aerobic exercise is important to help sciatic pain. Some form of low impact cardiovascular exercise, such as walking or 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 has the unique benefit of releasing endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, which helps alleviate sciatic pain.
The specific sciatica exercises will depend on the underlying cause of the sciatica pain (e.g. a lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis), as well as a number of other factors, such as the patient’s level of pain and overall conditioning.
There are a number of types of health professionals who specialize in providing appropriate physical therapy and exercise programs and instruction, including physical therapists, chiropractors, physiatrists (also called physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians), and qualified certified athletic trainers. Physiatrists will treat with medication and injections primarily, physical therapists specialize in the exercise component as do athletic trainers and Chiropractors treat the spine and the underlying cause of the sciatic pain. Our office specializes in low tech rehab as well as nutritional products that naturally decrease pain and swelling. For more information feel free to contact our office at 860-620-9523.