Getting Rid of Sciatica at Home with Exercises
You have been on bed-rest for several days now, but your back-ache does not seem to be getting any better. Your doctor, after several investigations including a scan, has concluded what you are suffering from is Sciatica. You were dreading this verdict, having heard from others with this condition, that it is a case of prolonged inactivity. But did you know that it need not be so at all? Bed-rest may not be exactly the best remedy for Sciatica, counter-intuitive as it may seem. Neither will drugs really help. They may at best help to relieve the pain, but that too with adverse side effects. Movement and mild exercise, combined with other natural methods, are better able to bring about relief, in the case of Sciatica.
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Agonising pain in the lower back, affecting also the thighs and calf muscles of one leg, are the characteristic symptoms of Sciatica. The straight leg raising test is normally done in order to check if there is a herniated disc and its location, and also the intensity of the pain. At times, numbness and tingling sensation is also experienced in the affected leg, foot and toes.
Sciatica can result from a variety of situations: the basic cause being compression of the sciatic nerve for one reason or other.
Simply bending to pick up an object from the floor may sometimes result in compression of the sciatic nerve between discs, with consequent pain. In other cases, it may result from narrowing of the spinal canal, thus increasing the pressure on the sciatic nerve going through it. In other cases, a herniated disc may protrude on to the nerve, causing immense discomfort and pain. If the sciatic nerve passes through the piriformis muscles in the thigh, overuse of this muscle can compress the sciatic nerve or irritate it, causing sciatica. Tight hamstring muscles can also cause sciatica.
Treatment with Exercise:
Apart from other natural methods of treatment, exercise has proved to be the best. Neither bed-rest nor sedentary lifestyle improves matters as far as sciatica is concerned. The exercises need to be done correctly in order to get the best results, and hence it is best to contact a qualified Physiotherapist for guidance. However, some stretching exercises can be done easily at home as well,and a few of these are given below:
Sit on the floor with both your legs stretched out straight in front of you.
Bend forward at the waist, and try to touch your toes if possible. Hold the maximum position for 10 seconds, relax and repeat.
Stand up with your feet approx. one foot apart. Rest your hands on the back of your waist, and try to stretch the torso backwards as far as possible.
Lie on the floor on your back, knees bent, and head in contact with the floor. Bring the ankle of the affected leg over to the knee of the other leg. Push down on the knee of the affected leg, while simultaneously pulling up behind the thigh of the unaffected leg. Hold for 5 seconds, relax and repeat.
Go on the floor, on your hands and knees. Slowly arch the back upwards till a stretch is felt in the back. Hold this position for 15 seconds, go back to the original position and repeat the exercise 10 times in a day.
Lie on the floor with your soles touching the floor, knees bent. Press your waist on the floor while exhaling. Hold this position for 15 seconds, relax and repeat 10 times.
Lying on your stomach, with a pillow under your stomach and ankles is a good remedy for sciatica. Otherwise you can lie on your back with a pillow under your knees.
If these exercises are done carefully and regularly, it will be only a short time before you are back on your feet, running around normally.
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