Very best sciatica exercises from back pain doctor with 40 years experience

What are the best sciatica exercises?

Easy stretching exercise for sciatica and lumbar pain

Sciatica exercises are not always helpful to reduce disc swelling and irritation that causes low back and sciatic leg pain. For this reason you must first talk to your orthopedist or chiropractic physician about these exercises to make sure they are correct for you and you know how to do them correctly.

Easy at-home sciatica exercises for pain relief

Do not use these sciatica exercises if you have any of the symptoms of severe lower back pain from cauda equina syndrome (painful, reduced or inability to empty bladder or bowel).   If you have these symptoms you should immediately go to the emergency room for prompt medical care.

Slowly and gently hold these sciatica stretches for just a few moments to learn how they affect your back and leg.  None of these stretching exercises should worsen your lower back pain, and in particular should not worsen any leg pain, numbness or tingling you may have. If you feel worse after this initial trial then do not do them; if you feel better or at least no worse, then you should continue work your way up to longer and deeper stretches.  At each level, evaluate that you are not aggravating your condition.

If your doctor agrees do these sciatica exercises a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Do not do any of these for a long time.  Short, gentle stretches done frequently will get best results.

None of these stretching exercises should worsen your low back or sciatic pain. If you find that your symptoms are worsening then stop the exercises immediately and talk to your doctor.

Exercise for Sciatica:   Standing lumbar extension

Sciatgica exercises will reduce back pain and muscle spasmsStanding lumbar extension can be especially useful during the early stages of sciatica.

  1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Place palms of hands to the lower back just above the hips
  3. Slowly and carefully arch your back at the level of your hands by going straight back.  Do not go to the left or right, just straight back. Do not bounce or jerk your upper body while in this posture.
  4. Start slowly and gently, testing after a few seconds in the upright position to see how your back responds to this stretching.  Do not allow yourself to go too far back at first – build up gradually.
  5. If you feel no aggravation of symptoms, repeat the standing lumbar extension a little longer and perhaps a little farther back.

Exercise for Sciatica:   Lying lumbar extension

Sciatica exercise while prone is a good way to reduce lower back pain by increasing movement between spinal bonesLying lumbar extension can be useful for mild to severe cases of acute and chronic sciatica.  It can be very effective because it can be held for a long time while just barely stretching the low back muscles, ligaments and tendons.

  1. Lie face down with feet separated shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend elbows and place palms of hands and forearms on the floor about shoulder width apart.
  3. Start the stretch by slowly and carefully arching the low back as you barely straighten arms out.  Moving the position of the arms and hands on the floor will allow you to regulate the stretch without using the arm and should muscles very much, so the stretch can be held for several minutes.
  4. Start slowly and gently, testing after a few seconds to see how your back responds to this stretching.  Do not allow yourself to arch your back too far at first – build up gradually.
  5. If you feel no aggravation of symptoms, repeat the lying lumbar extension a little longer and perhaps a little farther back.


Exercise for Sciatica:   Standing side glides

Sciatica stretching exercise can be aggressive, so be careful to not aggravate low back pain Standing side glides can be aggressive for the lumbar disc structure, and can easily worsen your low back and sciatica pain if done too aggressively.   Be careful; this stretch is not for everyone.

Depending on the location of the irritated lumbar nerve root in relation to the bulging lumbar disc, and the location of protective muscle spasm in the low back, the direction to stretch (pushing the left or right hip toward the wall) can either help or hurt your sciatica.

  1. Stand up as straight as possible close to a wall, with our feet together and your shoulder pointing to a wall, so you can place the palm of your hand on the wall at the height of your shoulder.  The arm should be parallel to the floor.
  2. Place your free hand on the hip not close to the wall.
  3. Start the stretch by slowly and carefully pushing the hip closest to the wall, toward the wall.  Do not bounce or force your upper body toward the wall, but only allow it to move slowly if it is comfortable. .
  4. Start slowly and gently, testing after a few seconds to see how your back responds to this stretching.  Do not allow yourself to bend the low back or hip toward the wall too far at first – increase  the depth of this bend carefully and gradually.
  5. If you feel no aggravation of symptoms, repeat the lying lumbar extension a little longer and perhaps a little farther back.
  6. You can try doing these side glides with the left and right hip.  Each time stop after a few seconds to see which side (left hip going to the wall or right hip going to the wall) provides the greatest relief.  Only stretch to that side that provides relief; do not stretch the hip toward the wall with the standing side glide if it causes discomfort.  If you are not sure which side to stretch, consult your doctor before doing this stretch.

Again, none of these sciatica exercises should worsen your leg or lumbar pain. If you find any of these stretching exercises causes more pain, numbness, tingling or muscle spasm, then reduce the time each is held and the amount of stretch that is given.

With your doctor’s approval, do these sciatica exercises a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Do not do any of these for a long time. Brief gentle stretches held frequently will get best results.

If you find that your sciatica symptoms are worsening then stop all exercises for sciatica and immediately discuss your problem with your family doctor or chiropractor.

 

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