5 Exercises for Sciatica Pain Relief
Several years ago I had sciatica for nearly a year straight. I was seeking sciatica pain relief in the worst way.
It hurt to bend, it hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to sleep, it hurt to do just about everything. I thought to myself “is this how the rest of my life is going to be?” The worst thing was – I was a yoga teacher. Having never had any real physical injuries I began to seek relief and care. During my first visit to a chiropractor, we discovered that my pelvis was not level and probably for quite some time. Trying to put things back into place made for a very angry body.
As someone early into teaching yoga I vowed to help others dissolve pain because no one should have to live with pain like this on a daily basis. Through improving my posture, building stability in my frame as well as building muscle and staying mobile slowly my sciatica disappeared. But over the years it tries to rear its annoying head and with my toolbox in place, I know exactly what to do to dissolve the symptoms and find relief once again.
If you have ever had it, you know it. That pain that can knock you off your feet. That pain can derail you dead in your tracks. That nerve pain that can be so excruciating that you are flat on the floor praying it will pass.
WHAT IS SCIATICA:
I think it is important to first describe what sciatica is and what it is not. Sciatica is a pain and nerve sensation that can travel through the glute down the leg, past the knee into the calf. Sciatica has a number of causes some of them being injury (to the lower back), ruptured disk, bulging disk, spinal injury, and spinal stenosis. Sciatica is most cases originates from the lower back, and most true sciatica cases are caused by spinal injuries or issues.
WHERE IS THE SCIATIC NERVE:
The sciatic nerve is a nerve that originates in the lower back on either side of the spine. It runs through the buttocks and into the hips before branching down each leg. In some cases, the sciatic nerve runs under or through the piriformis muscle.
This nerve is the longest nerve in the body and provides sensation to the outer leg and foot. Sciatica is nerve pain that runs through the buttocks, down the back of the leg and into the ankle or foot.
WHAT IS PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME:
Piriformis syndrome although it feels similar they are not. Piriformis syndrome often originates from the glute (hip buttocks) area, where sciatica originates from the lower back.
Piriformis syndrome causes sciatica-like symptoms when piriformis muscle pinches down on the sciatic nerve and causes pain just like sciatica: burning, tingling, shooting pain especially when sitting. However piriformis pain often does not travel below the knee, whereas sciatica will.
Both sciatica and piriformis are not a condition as much as they are symptom caused by another problem: a herniated disc, lower back injury, tight piriformis/hip muscles, pelvis or hip pain/injury, or misalignment. While most try to treat the symptoms it is critical to look to the root cause and try to find relief starting there.
Dr. Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, adds that the best way to alleviate most sciatica pain is to do “any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.”
5 STRETCHES FOR SCIATICA PAIN RELIEF:
KNEES INTO THE CHEST:
FIGURE FOUR STRETCH
FIGURE FOUR STRETCH SEATED
STANDING CALF STRETCH
WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP:
Sometimes, you’ll need to actively seek the help of a chiropractor for sciatica. But under what circumstances should you do this?
You should see a professional if you have:
- Pain that radiates from your lower lumbar spine to your buttocks and down your legs
- Pain along your nerve pathways anywhere else
- Sharp pains or mild burning pains
- Prolonged pain after sitting
Please note that if you have sudden severe sciatic pain, you should visit your doctor.
SCIATICA PAIN RELIEF TREATMENT:
Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream is an excellent means for pain relief. Applying three to four times a day over the area of pain for immediate and long-lasting relief. The ingredients in Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream specifically target the affected area and provide cooling and warming relief, increased blood flow, and decreased inflammation. (Shop Now)
Chiropractic care can be extremely helpful during a sciatica flare-up. When you find a good chiropractor he or she can help you realign your bones to give space for your body to begin to find relief. However, it is my own experience over the last 20 years working with thousands of people that chiropractic care alone will do very little for most. When the body is tight, stiff, and has created its own patterns in the fascia, resetting a bone using chiropractic practices can feel like a revolving door.
Consider coupling this form of treatment with massage therapy, yoga, stretching, or physical therapy to retrain your body to move, sit, and hold in different ways.
Ice treatments can be helpful immediately after you begin to feel the pain. Icing the glute if it is piriformis syndrome or the lower back and hip area if it is due to a lower back injury causing sciatica. Try 20 minutes of ice on and off for the first three or four days.
Heat is acceptable a few days after the flare-up begins. Using heat immediately may cause more aggravation.
Some people are unfortunately nearly 40% of people will end up feeling the effects of sciatica than others, and many it can be reoccurring.
“People who suffer from acute or chronic back pain tend to be more susceptible to sciatica,” says Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. “Your risk also rises if you’re obese, if you smoke, or if you’re sedentary.”
An article from Bud and Tony’s Truck Parts on back pain stated that:
- Awkward and uncomfortable sitting postures
- Body vibration
- Leaning, hunching, and rounding
- Prolonged sitting
- Poor posture
- Lack of physical fitness
It is not always possible to prevent sciatica. However, some lifestyle modifications, increase in regular exercise(s), improving core strength and movements throughout the day can help. In addition, regularly walking, using supportive devices for driving and desk work like BackShield and supportive sleeping can significantly help reduce a person’s risk of experiencing sciatica again.
In general, regular exercise and building a strong core may help prevent sciatica. Additionally maintaining a good posture while sitting and standing is important, and may make people less likely to develop sciatica than people with poor posture. Consider working with Mother Trucker Yoga to learn how to improve posture, exercises you can do directly from the cab and driver’s seat of your rig to help prevent and keep sciatica symptoms at bay. And inside our platform, you’ll get detailed step by step videos of the moves above!