Many people who experience pain associated with sciatica find it difficult to exercise due to the condition. Exercising with sciatica, however, can actually lead to an alleviation of sciatic pain when done properly and regularly. As with any other type of injury or regular pain, exercising with sciatica should be done slowly and within the limits of one's pain threshold, though the workout should get progressively more difficult after time. Remember that a regular stretching routine both before and after the workout routine is necessary to keep exercising with sciatica a feasible and pain-free option in one's life.
Sciatica is caused by compression on the sciatic nerve, which runs the length of both legs and into the hips and lower back. Compression can be caused by tight muscles or spinal compression due to injury, spinal deformities, or slipped discs. It is important to understand what causes sciatica before exercising with the condition, because some movements may exacerbate the problem rather than help it. Exercises that decompress the spine are likely to help alleviate sciatic pain, and inversion tables, when used correctly and carefully, are one way to prepare for exercising with sciatica.
Strengthening core muscles can help alleviate sciatic pain and prevent it from coming back in the future. A core workout will strengthen the abs, lower back, hips, and thighs. These muscles help support the spine, making a slipped disc less likely. An exercise ball is a great tool for strengthening core muscles, and a professional trainer at the local gym or fitness center can help a sufferer design a core strengthening plan that will help alleviate pain. Any core workout routine should be started slowly and with fewer repetitions to get the muscles used to the new stresses and strains of exercising, and if the sufferer has any injuries in the spine or lower back muscles, he or she should consult a doctor before undertaking any exercise routine.
Simple stretches can be done at home to prepare for exercising with sciatica. While sitting down at work, a sufferer can cross one leg over the knee of the other, and bend the upper body downward toward the crossed knee. This stretch targets the hamstrings and muscles in the buttocks, which are often the cause of sciatica in office workers who sit for long periods of time. Standing up and touching one's toes can also help stretch out the hamstrings and lower back. One should stand up and walk around for at least 15 minutes after every hour of sitting.