Sciatica is a common cause of lower back pain. Sometimes the shock-like pain of sciatica can keep you from doing the activities that you love.
At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Pain, spine specialist Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS offers both nonsurgical treatments and minimally invasive surgery to relieve moderate to severe sciatica pain.
Part of your treatment plan may include physical therapy and at-home exercises that relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve. Dr. Bo can recommend one or more exercises you should do at least once a day to keep your lower back healthy and pain-free.
Sciatica describes lower back pain that results from pressure on the sciatic nerve. This large nerve travels from your lower spine, down through your hips, and into both of your legs.
Sciatic nerve pressure causes a specific type of pain that other spine conditions. When you move in certain ways, you may feel sudden electric shocks of pain in your lower back. The shocking pain can also radiate along the sciatic nerve and down into your hips and legs.
Sciatica can also cause a cramping, weakness, and a pins-and-needles sensation in your legs. These symptoms can worsen over time, especially if you have chronic inflammation in your sciatic nerve or underlying issues like:
Your risk for developing sciatica symptoms also increases as you get older and degenerative changes weaken your spine.
There are a number of exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home to alleviate pressure on your lower back and sciatic nerve, including:
Sit in a chair and cross your right leg over your left knee. Gently bend forward toward your leg while keeping your spine straight.
Try to hold your stretch for at least 30 seconds and stop if you feel any pain.
A simple stretch to ease nerve pressure involves laying on your back with legs extended and bringing your left knee to your right shoulder.
Try to hold your position for at least 30 seconds before releasing and pulling in your right knee to your left shoulder. Aim for three repetitions for each leg.
Place your right foot on a chair or a step. Keep your foot flexed with your toes and legs remaining straight. You can keep a slight bend in your knee while you lean your body forward toward your foot.
Lean in as far as you can to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds before releasing and repeating the stretch on the other side.
In a seated position, keep your spine straight and lift one leg out in front of you while the other foot remains flat on the floor. Slowly bend your ankle so your toes point toward you, then bend your ankle to point your toes away.
You can also deepen your stretch by bending your head forward into your chest while flexing your ankle. Do 15-20 ankle bends then switch legs, aiming for three rounds for each leg two times a day.
If your sciatica pain prevents you from doing exercises, schedule a diagnostic evaluation with Dr. Bo. You can book an appointment online or call The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office near you today.