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Sciatic Nerve Pain – Is It Safe to Exercise


Those who are familiar with sciatic nerve pain may understand how difficult it makes moving and working out. You might be wondering if you should even be exercising if you have this discomfort. Although it’s not as easy, you should still try to be as active as possible if you’re dealing with sciatica. Fortunately, there are many types of exercises for sciatic nerve pain out there you can do to find relief.

Before you jump into any exercise routine, you’ll want to understand what sciatica is, how it affects you, and the exercises you should do to help you get the relief you desire.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain the person experiences along their sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back, through your hips, and down the back of each leg. It’s a very common condition, affecting more than 3 million Americans each year. People with sciatica can have sharp or tingling pain, though everyone may experience different sensations and intensities.

Sciatica generally happens when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed. The most common cause is a herniated disc. Most people feel pain from sciatica on only one side of their body.

Who is at Risk of Developing Sciatic Nerve Pain?

Certain people are more at risk of developing sciatic nerve pain than others. Particular activities, habits, and illnesses can cause issues with your spine and make it more likely for your sciatic nerve to become impacted.

If you fall under any of the following categories, you might want to start taking some precautions to prevent this painful condition from striking you.

  • Older individuals
  • Those who are obese
  • Those who have a sedentary lifestyle
  • Those with diabetes
  • Those with physically demanding jobs
  • People with poor posture

How Exercising Can Help

One of the worst things you could do if you’re having sciatic nerve pain is to become less active. If you want to ease your discomfort, you want to do the opposite and start moving more. Any form of exercising is beneficial to your nervous system since it enhances soft tissue healing. You may also notice that you’ve become less sensitive to pain once you move more.

The Best Exercise Routine to Treat Sciatica Pain

Certain exercises and stretches are available to help treat your sciatic nerve pain. Although, many experts recommend a particular exercise routine to help you get the most benefits. This includes:

Core Muscle Strength

Core strengthening exercises are excellent for helping with sciatic nerve pain since it helps improve spinal movements. Having a strong core is crucial for better balance and taking pressure off your spine, which can reduce sciatica symptoms.

Hamstring Flexibility

Preventing the hamstrings from becoming too tight by stretching is also a great way to reduce pain. These muscles control spinal and pelvic alignment, and when they become tight, it can affect your posture and put more stress on your lower back. Loosening your hamstrings can relieve sciatic nerve root pressure and improve your lower back pain.

Increased Blood Circulation

Less blood supply to your bones can weaken your spine and vertebral discs. As a result, it can put more pressure on them, resulting in back and spinal problems that lead to sciatic pain. The best way to improve your blood circulation is to perform light aerobic exercises. Not only that, but these moves can also help loosen stiff muscles.

How to Exercise with Sciatica

Those with sciatica should not perform any type of exercise. Some can make your symptoms worse! There are ways you should stretch and move to help you get the relief you need. Here are some tips below.

Begin with Gentle Dynamic Stretches

As with any form of physical activity, you want to warm up with some dynamic stretches before you get started. This will get your blood flowing so you can move with ease and reduce your chances of getting an injury. It’s normal for your lower back, legs, or hips to feel a little stiff when you start these warmups. As you get more into it, they should begin to loosen up.

Your gentle dynamic warmup should be about five minutes. That should give your body enough time to get the blood flowing so you can get moving.

Avoid High-Impact Activities

If your sciatic nerve is irritated, you want to avoid high-impact movements that put too much stress on your hips and pelvis. This can aggravate the nerve even more and increase your pain. Stay away from moves that involve running or jumping.

Avoid Forward Bending Moves

Another movement you should refrain from doing if you have sciatic nerve pain is anything that requires you to bend forward from the waist. Moves like this can put stress on your lower back, pelvis, and hamstrings. It may also cause tightness.

Use Correct Posture and Movement Patterns

Poor posture can harm your spine, so you want to make sure you’re using the right form when performing certain exercises. You could risk putting too much pressure on your lower back and aggravating your sciatic nerve if you don’t do a certain exercise correctly.

Focus on Lower Body Mobilization Exercises

Living with a tight lower back can be painful, so you want to find some moves that can help add some mobility. Lower body mobility helps you move better while relieving pain. You’d be surprised to learn how certain exercises can increase your range of motion and help decrease muscle tension.

Start Slowly

You shouldn’t jump into an exercise, especially if you are unfamiliar with it. You want to start slowly to ensure you’re doing it correctly. There’s no shame in taking your time to make sure you have an exercise down-packed. Once you become more familiar with it, you can start gradually picking it up.

Your back will thank you later once it’s been relieved of that pesky sciatic nerve pain!

Exercise Daily

Consistency is key! People who have found relief from sciatica do so by keeping up with their physical activity. Remember those good things don’t just happen overnight. You have to keep going if you want to continue to see results.

If you’re unable to exercise every day, try to aim for some low-impact aerobic activity at least five times a week. Even if it’s simply a five- to ten-minute stretch, it’s better than nothing.

Stop if You Feel Pain

Perhaps this is the most important thing you should remember when it comes to exercising with sciatica. If you feel any sort of pain while doing a certain move, stop immediately. Not everyone is capable of doing the same exercises comfortably. Some may need to improve their flexibility before going into a certain position, and that’s okay.

The goal is to eliminate your pain, not add to it! If you notice your pain is persistent or getting worse, you might want to see your doctor to make sure nothing serious is going on.

Discover the Best Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain Today!

Sciatic nerve pain doesn’t have to impact your life anymore! It is possible to find relief if you take the time to get moving and correct some of your harmful habits. Once you learn the best exercises for yourself and start committing to them, you can finally perform your daily activities with less pain and more confidence.


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