Exercise Triggers for Sciatica

Published: 01st January 2007
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The sciatic nerve is not actually a single nerve, but a bundle of many nerves that leave the spine from the lower back and sacral regions. From here, the bundle moves towards the glutes then splits to various destinations on the legs. One nerve supplies the front of the thigh, one the back and another the lower shin. Irritation of any of these nerves may cause tingling, pain or numbness we call sciatica.

Individuals with mild to moderate sciatica are usually prescibed stretching and strengthening movements. Both are done to tolerance according to that days pain level. It is best to have a sciatica program designed by a Physical Therapist as few Personal Trainers have the knowledge to work with a special population like sciatica. The contraindictated movement for all strengthening and stretching is forward flexion as this could furthur irritate the condition.

Two more classic moves to avoid are toe touches and full sit ups. Toe touches involve full forward flexion and put all your body weight on your lower back. Full sit ups also stress the lower back. Instead of coming all the way up just do crunches with only your head and shoulders raising slightly off the ground.

Finally, many people will assume since they have a back problem they need to strengthen it. Not the case with sciatica. With sciatica you want to stretch your lower back and strengthen your abdominals. Performing back extensions which are a low back strengthener can worsen sciatica.

In summary, either have a Physical Therapist or a Chiropractor design your exercise program. The stretching and strengthening exercises will provide pain relief as well as a better level of overall fitness. Pay attention to the trigger exercises listed in this article to avoid injury, pain or relapse.
Dr Lanny Schaffer an Exercise Physiologist is the President of The International Fitness Academy. For more cutting edge fitness information for healthy and special populations go to http://www.aerobic-exercise-coach.com

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