Got sciatic nerve pain? Try these calming low impact exercises and stretches
Updated: Dec 8, 2021
There's nothing quite like waking up with sciatic nerve pain and then struggling to walk for days or even weeks.
I've been there, and some days, I'm still getting this annoying pain, especially when I walk. It has kept me in bed many times, and I'm sure you've been feeling this nerve pain, too, if you're here.
Many people will get diagnosed with sciatica - a condition of the sciatic nerve. But did you know that sciatica is often extremely over-diagnosed? Many patients who go to get a doctor's opinion on various types of back pain are diagnosed with "sciatica," but it could actually be another similar medical condition.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As a member of the Amazon Associates Program, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases. Please note I am not a doctor or medical professional, and this information should be treated as guidance. Please consult your doctor!
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical condition that stems from the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest in the human body and runs from the end of your spine down to the leg and foot and stops in the toes.
It's described as lower back pain that radiates down towards the left or right buttock and even lower into your feet and toes. Unfortunately, for some patients, the pain is excruciating and hard to manage.
With the right medical treatment, it can go away in 3 months or less, but it can re-appear at any time. This is called sciatica "flare-up" and can cause lots of discomfort, so that's why you need to get treatment right away.
What causes sciatica pain?
In many cases, sciatica is caused by a bulging disk, herniated dish, spinal bone spur, or a condition called spinal stenosis, which compresses the nerve and causes pain. The nerve becomes inflamed, painful and you can even experience numbness in your leg.
Non-invasive and natural remedies for sciatica pain
I want to share some of the best non-invasive or conservative sciatica treatments and remedies.
Prescription medicines are one of the first things people think of when they have a medical concern. The truth is that many of them can and do perform admirably. But besides medication, there are some simple things you can do to ease sciatic nerve pain and flare-up.
A large number of people adopt natural techniques to manage their discomfort. Exercising is an example of such an approach.
Stretching activities can help you stay flexible. Strength training, which has been proved to aid certain people, is another option. To enhance blood circulation without putting more stress on the nerve, keep to low-impact workouts.
In fact, low-impact workouts are the safest when you're dealing with nerve injury and pain. If you have a bulging disc, other workouts can do more harm than good.
One of my favorite sciatic nerve pain exercises is this one from Dr. Rowe:
A must-have product for these types of exercise: Thick Workout Mat
The XN8 Tri-Fold Folding 2.4" Thick Exercise Mat is perfect for stretching exercises and won't cause further back pain because it's thick enough to offer cushioning.
Try pilates or yoga because these types of exercises are easy to do, even if you're not a fitness guru. The point is to stretch your body and keep the spine and cervical area healthy.
Stretching during physical treatment helps to release muscles and prevent bulging disks in the back. Stretches that target the buttocks, legs, and back are all excellent options.
Pilates for sciatica: best exercises
Before you start, you'll need some non-slip pilates socks to prevent slipping and injury. Also, you want to get a yoga or pilates mat.
Pilates exercises offer a lot of pain relief but also improve your mobility.
Pilates is suitable for all levels of fitness, from beginner to advanced. You can do the exercises can your own body weight or with the assistance of various pieces of equipment. But, the truth is for sciatic nerve relief, you don't need much more than a good yoga mat or exercise mat.
Pilates should be done at least two or three times per week to get the most out of it. After 10 to 20 sessions, you may notice a difference in your posture and better mobility and muscular control. You'll even notice you're walking around pain-free!
Practice proper posture when sitting
If you stay in the same position for too long, whether you're working at your desk or relaxing at home, your sciatica pain may worsen.
Changing your position every 20 minutes or so and maintaining appropriate posture will help relieve pressure on your spine and alleviate sciatica symptoms.
Whatever strategy you choose, the important thing is to get started. Sciatica does not have to take over your life. With so many possibilities, you should take action and attempt at least a few of them. You'll be glad you did it once you're pain-free.
Bonus: Orthopedic Gel & Memory Foam Coccyx Cushion for Tailbone Pain
If you sit for long periods or work from an office or at home, you'll notice that this makes sciatica pain worse.
One thing that's really helped me personally is an orthopedic seat cushion. The Orthopedic Gel & Memory Foam Coccyx Cushion for Tailbone Pain provides relief from back pain and sciatica because it is made with memory foam. This adapts to your body and buttocks and provides support.