Many patients believe that it’s impossible to maintain an active lifestyle after getting a sciatica diagnosis. However, in truth, you can still enjoy a couple of physical activities. Read through the discussion below to learn about the best exercises for sciatica as well as the sciatica exercises to avoid. Hopefully, by knowing about these things, you can avoid aggravating your symptoms and improve how you navigate through the daily challenges brought by sciatica.
Get Diagnosed Before Anything Else
Some doctors and researchers argue that sciatica isn’t a particular condition but a symptom of another health problem. That’s why sometimes people with sciatica often have co-morbidities such as:
- Brainstem stroke
- Spinal tumor
- Cervical subluxation
- Bone spurts
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Disc herniation
It’s a good idea to get a comprehensive diagnosis to determine the extent of your sciatica symptoms and to check for other pre-existing health concerns. By doing so, you can personalize the exercises or physical activities according to your health and body condition. Check out our list of recommended and discouraged workout tips for people with sciatica.
Best Exercises for Sciatica
Most of the exercises used by people with sciatica involve the neck, hips, and back. Moreover, the movements require minimal force to avoid straining the body and compressing the already-irritated sciatic nerve. To help you jumpstart your routine, here are some examples of exercises you can try:
Stretching is a critical part of every sciatica exercise routine. That’s because it helps you condition your body before performing rigorous activities. Stretching can also prevent injuries by preparing the muscle fibers, ligaments, and joints. Here are some best exercises for sciatica:
- Pigeon pose
- Sitting spinal stretch
- Knee stretching to the opposite shoulder
- Groin and adductor muscle stretch
- Standing hamstring stretch
- Standing piriformis stretch
2. Low-Impact Exercises
Low impact exercises elevate the heart rate and boost blood circulation. They also help nourish damaged or irritated tissues such as the sciatic nerve. A few examples of these exercises include biking, stationary biking, walking, and yoga.
3. Water-Based Exercises
Water-based exercises like swimming, water aerobics, and walking around the pool are beneficial for patients with sciatica. Essentially, water supports the body while doing movements like walking. It also helps increase muscle resistance to lessen your sciatica pain and strengthen your core muscles.
Sciatica Exercises to Avoid
While maintaining physical activity is crucial for patients with sciatica, you should avoid some exercises that may impact your spinal column and hips. Some examples of these activities include the following:
High impact activities or exercises like playing basketball, running, jumping, and skiing spell trouble for sciatica patients. They mainly affect the hips and lumbar spine and put undue mechanical pressure on your sciatic nerve.
Twisting movements can put your sciatic nerve at a higher risk of damage. So, we highly recommend avoiding activities like playing badminton or tennis or going to a golf tournament. You should also avoid lifting objects and twisting your back simultaneously if possible. When you lift an object like a bag of grocery items or a box of supplies, we suggest following these tips:
- Lift the item as close as you can to your body
- Tighten your core muscles while you move
- Straighten your back by bending your knees instead of twisting the upper body
- Call for help when you can’t handle the load
The intervertebral discs protect each vertebral bone from friction. Unfortunately, they can shift away from their normal alignment and press on tissues like the sciatic nerve when lifting heavy objects like a barbell or dumbbell the wrong way. Be sure to consult with a therapist or a professional fitness instructor so you can avoid getting injured while weightlifting.
More Tips to Manage Sciatica
Besides knowing the best exercises for sciatica and the sciatica exercises to avoid, you might also find it helpful to focus on improving your patient care plan. Here are a few things you should consider doing to prevent sciatica from taking control of your life:
- Avoid overworking yourself
- Stop working out when your symptoms start to appear
- Avoid sitting for long hours
- Work on your core muscles
- Manage your weight
- Avoid food products that trigger an inflammatory response
- Seek a physician so you can address health problems that may aggravate your sciatica symptoms
- Fix postural imbalances with upper cervical care
Seek an Upper Cervical Chiropractor for Your Sciatica
Some cases of sciatica occur because of cervical subluxation or misaligned C1 and C2 bones. Several case studies show that the slightest changes in the uppermost neck section can compromise the spine’s structural integrity. This can lead to sciatic nerve compression or irritation and eventually sciatica symptoms.
Hence, if you tried every remedy possible but still experience radiating lower back pain, we recommend getting your neck bone checked by an upper cervical chiropractic physician.
Upper cervical chiropractic is an established technique used to fix postural imbalances. It works well for many ailments because it focuses on holistic healing.
If one side of the hips appears higher or your shoulders seem uneven, you might likely have a cervical subluxation. We suggest confirming the presence of neck bone misalignments as soon as possible so you can receive the required number of chiropractic adjustments. The sooner you seek an upper cervical doctor, the quicker you can lessen the pressure on your sciatic nerve and curb your symptoms.
Feel free to call the nearest sciatica chiropractor today for a complete assessment of your C1 and C2 bones.