Sciatica or sciatic neuralgia is a commoncondition in which one of the spinal nerve roots of the sciatic nerve is compressed resultingin lower back, buttock and leg pain. Sciatic nerve is a large nerve derived from 5 spinalnerve roots: L4, L5, S1, S2 and S3. It runs from the lumbar spine through the buttockdown the leg and the foot on the posterior aspect. There is one sciatic nerve on eachside of the body. Typically, only one side of the body is affected.A typical sciatica pain is described as a sharp shooting pain in the lower back, downthe buttock, thigh and leg on one side of the body. There may also be numbness, burningand tingling sensations. The pain can get
worse with sitting, moving, sneezing, or coughing.The patterns of pain depend on which nerve root is compressed, and follow the dermatomedistribution. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniatedspinal disc. The spinal disc is a soft elastic cushion that sits in between the vertebraeof the spine. With age, the discs become rigid and may crack, the gellike center of thedisc may protrude out and become a herniation outside the normal boundaries of the disc.Disc herniation presses on the nerve root as it exits the spine.In majority of the cases the condition resolves by itself after a few weeks of rest and conservativetreatment. Pain relief, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory
drugs and muscle relaxants may be prescribed.Stretching exercises and physical therapy may be recommended.Surgery may be needed if the pain doesn't go away after 3 months or more of conservativetreatments. The herniated disc may be removed in a procedure called discectomy. Or, in anotherprocedure called laminotomy, part of the bone of the vertebrae may be cut to make room forthe nerve.
Top 3 Exercises for Sciatica and Pinched Nerve
Have you heard of sciaticaé A lot of peoplecomplain about nerve pain down the back of their leg. Usually the cause is withinthe lower back or pelvis. I'm going to give you 2 stretches today for the sciatic nerve. Itis the largest nerve in the body. It runs down the back of the leg and splits into two behindthe knee. It runs the whole way to the foot. It can cause shooting pain, numbness, tingling,dead leg feeling or the feeling that your leg is falling asleep. The first exercise is this. It is called flossing.We are going to sit up nice and straight here. What you are going to do is straightenthe affected leg or the leg with pain.
Stretch that leg out and look up at the sametime. As you are doing this, if you are doing it right and you are doing it on thepainful leg, it could actually make the symptoms travel down your leg. That is ok.You are putting a stretch on the nerve. We are going to hold that 5 seconds. Then bendyour knee and look down. 5 second hold here. 5 second hold, 10 times each way. Thisis called flossing. The next exercise is called a slump stretch.Same idea here, as you are doing this exercise, you could experience increased symptomsdown the leg and that is ok. Outside of the flossing or this exercise,no other exercise should increase the pain
travelling down the leg. Everything else shouldactually decrease the pain in the leg and you will experience more pain in yourlower back. What we do is this: Feet against the wall, knees straight, fingers interlockedbehind the head. Then you are going to slump forward. So bring your elbows in. Thereyou go. This should cause pretty sharp symptoms down the back of your leg. It iscalled the slump stretch and it is ok to feel increased pain down the back of the leg. Wehold this for 30 seconds and we do 3 of them in the . Now if that is too difficult,if that is too advanced, here is what you can do: Place your arms behind you and situp and arch your back. What you want to
try to do is if that is too much for you,if that is too intense, you can place your arms behind your back and simply arch your back.Rock your pelvis forward. That will do the same exact thing but it is a little less intensethan interlocking your fingers behind your neck and leaning forward. This is a littlemore basic. So you can modify. The same idea though 30 seconds, 3 times. If you canat least get yourself to sit up straight with the legs straight, feet flat against the wall,you are in good shape. The third exercise you should do for sciaticaor symptoms running down your leg is this: Realize that with symptoms travelling downyour leg, often there isnt a problem within
the leg. The problem is within the lower backor the pelvis. The sciatic nerve, the nerve roots where it originates is in your lowerback. If you are getting pressure on the nerve roots there either from disc degeneration,from a herniated disc or, as is also common, a problem within the pelvis and the sacroiliacjoint. If you have a problem there that is putting increased pressure on the nerve, thatis what creates the symptoms in your leg. You can think about it like this: if you havea long garden hose and there is water running through it and you pinch one end,obviously at the other end you are going to have less water flow. Same idea in your body.If you pinch that sciatic nerve, that is
what creates the symptoms. That is what changeswhat you are feeling down your leg. The solution isn't to continually addressthe problems in your leg. Or to put heat on your leg or ice on your leg. The solution is torelieve the pressure on the other end of the garden hose or the other end of the sciaticnerve. So what you need to do is figure out what is causing the symptoms down your leg.A good Physical Therapist can help you do that and they can decipher through testingwhether it is coming from arthritis or disc degeneration or stenosis in your back, a herniateddisc or a problem in your pelvis. So the third exercise that you should be doingis the 3 exercises that are addressing the
Best Stretches for Sciatica
Hello I'm Heather Moore owner ofTotal Performance Physical Therapy. Today we're going to go over the best exercisesfor sciatica. There's really one main stretch that you can do a bunch of different waysif you're getting numbness and tingling down your leg, if you'r e getting pain throughyour back, in your butt you should do this stretch multiple times throughout the day,when you do it you want to try and hold it for about 30 seconds, you want to try andperform 6 repetitions if you can't do it for that long that's okay hold it for as longas you can, if for any reason these are going to increase your pain you need to stop immediatelyand call your but this should alleviate
a lot of your body pain specially if you aresitting for a long period of time or you get a lot of pain down your leg. The first oneis in the seated position you want to sit up nice and straight, you want to cross yourankle over your knee if you feel a stretch there that's where you need to stop, if youdon't feel a stretch there all you wann do is sit up and lean forward and you shouldfeel a greater stretch through your butt, through your hamstring which is in the backof your leg and through the side of your leg, you may even feel a little bit on your backdepending on where your tight is again this shouldn't hurt and should feel like a goodstretch, you could do this sitting at your
desk all day long, you also want to make surethat you concentrate on both sides not just the side that hurts, piriformis muscle whichis what this is stretching on both sides and will tag evenly on your sacrum or your tailbone so you want to make sure that you do both sides and not just one. The next wayto do this stretch is standing up, you want to find a surface where you can put your leg,your hip at about 90 degrees and you're going to bring your foot up and you're just goingto have it lay on the table and you're going to let your knee drop to the side, if yourknee doesn't fall all the way down that's okay, don't force it down let it just staythere again if you get, if you're in this
position and you don;t feel a stretch youcan now begin to lean forward, you're going to feel the stretch in your back, in yourglut, in your hamstring and all the side of your leg, this should not be painful it shouldfeel like a nice stretch this one also you want to do 30 seconds hold about 6 repetitionsand you want to make sure that you hit both sides. The final way to do this stretch islaying down, so you want to lay on your back and this is a good thing to do when you getup in the morning, go ahead and bend both your knees up and then you're going to crossyour ankle over your knee, now again if this is where you feel a stretch stop right thereand hold it, if you don't feel a stretch in
this position you're going to reach both armsbehind this leg and you're going to pull it up towards your chest, you should feel a stretchagain in the back, in the glut, in the hamstring or maybe even on the side of the leg, it shouldnot hurt it should feel like a nice gentle stretch, you want to hold this about 30 secondsand you want to do about 6 of those you can do this as many times during the day as youwould like there is no set number or times that you can do this, anytime your tight youcan do this and it will not harm you.