We’ve been in practice since 2003 and throughout these years we’ve had many people come in complaining about numbness or nerve like pain that shoots down their leg. Often, they are right to assume that it is sciatica.
Sciatica typically occurs as either a numbness, tingling, shooting or even a burning pain that travels down one leg. We often find it happening when someone gets involved with repetitive lifting and twisting heavy boxes or equipment at work. We also encounter cases when someone is lifting their child or doing yard work. It’s also common in pregnant moms, especially around their third trimester when the weight of their baby pulls their body forward in ways they aren’t prepared for. Not only are the symptoms irritating, but the effects of that sciatica can prevent a person from working, delay their pregnancy and have them bedridden for weeks trying to find solutions to the pain.
The actual causes of sciatica can be numerous. Tight muscles, disc bulges, disc herniations and vertebrae that are squeezing the nerve supply down the leg are all contributors to sciatica. At Color Chiropractic, we’ve developed ways to alleviate sciatica and even prevent it before it starts. Although we suggest you schedule a free consultation to see what’s potentially causing your sciatica, here are a few exercises worth considering.
Note: We have some video demonstrations of these exercises coming soon. We’ll update this blog, but use this link as a potential visual.
- Strategy 1). Seated Spinal Twist (AKA Seated twist): Check out this video for more details. This is a wonderful exercise to do after you’ve warmed up your muscles. Oftentimes disc bulges or herniations lead to sciatica because the lower back is not able to fully rotate through its full range of motion. Chiropractic does a great job of helping the muscles move fully through it’s range of motion (ROM), but stretches like this one can be used to keep sciatica in check and allow a more full ROM. Please note that this is more of a preventative exercise and if you have sciatica symptoms, it could make symptoms worse. Make sure to consult your physician.
- Strategy 2). Piriformis stretch (AKA Thread the needle): Check out this video for more details. If the sciatic pain shows up while you’re sitting, you should definitely consider taking tightness out of your piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve can sometimes be irritated above or below the piriformis muscle belly. Stretching the piriformis often relieves the tightness. Sometimes, adjusting and balancing the hip joint can also help.
- Strategy 3) McKenzie stabilization exercises (AKA a modified Cat/Cow exercise): When the source of the sciatic pain comes from the spine, we have to find ways to keep the spinal disc from bulging out and cause further irritation to the nerve. Mckenzie exercises are simple to do with an emphasis on keeping the lumbar disc stable on the spine. You can look up McKenzie exercises on Youtube, but be on the lookout for our exercise demonstrations coming soon.
- Strategy 4) Movement recommendations: There is a saying that an ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure. When it comes to sciatic pain, proper lifting strategies are essential to keeping sciatica in check or prevent it from progressing. In general, try to avoid repetitive activities that involve flexing your back along with rotation. If you have to do these types of activities, try the strategy of keeping your toes and nose pointing in the same direction. This will help you avoid the tendency of combining flexion and rotation movements. It will also be important to bend the knees when you lift to take tension off your lower back. Lastly, a rule of thumb to know is that the further sciatic pain shoots down the leg, the more complicated the problem. If you’re finding that your sciatic pain is going past your knee, make sure to have it looked at before the problem gets any worse.
We hope the tips and prevention strategies prove useful and provide you with some of the relief to your sciatic pain. Incorporate these exercises in a workout, during your pregnancy or after warming up to do a heavy project around the house. Prevention is a major key to preventing sciatica from progressing so….
1). If the symptoms keep creeping up even after doing these exercises.
2). The sciatica is shooting further down your leg as it progresses or
3). It’s become a major hindrance to your life
Consult with us. We’re here to help