Sciatica, although it is one of the most common pains, it is still an insufficiently understood type of pain that occurs suddenly and significantly impairs the quality of life. The first step towards treating sciatica is to discover the cause. There are several causes of sciatica, and we will explain the six most common ones. Exercises for sciatica (shown as images) are specially designed as a treatment and as a preventive measure against sciatica. Exercises and Acuraflex cream-based exclusively on natural ingredients, which in combination with Acuraflex capsules gives even better results and protects bones, tissues, and muscles instantly help to eliminate acute pain. Discover the cause of your pain, exercise, use an anti-inflammatory cream, and leave the pain behind forever.
There are several disorders of the lumbar spine (lower back) that can cause sciatica. Sciatica pain is often described as mild to intense low back pain that travels to the left or right leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest and the longest nerve in the body and is the thickness of a thumb. It consists of five smaller nerves that extend from the lumbosacral part of the spine. Sciatica occurs when there is pressure on one or more of these smaller nerves. Other terms used to describe sciatica are sciatic neuralgia or sciatic neuropathy. Sometimes doctors call sciatica radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is a medical term used to describe pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms or legs caused by a nerve root problem. If the problem is with the nerves in the neck, it is called cervical radiculopathy. Because sciatica affects the lower back, it is called lumbar radiculopathy.
Starting from the back of the pelvis, the sciatic nerve runs behind, under the buttocks, and down through the hip area into each leg. Nerve roots are not “lonely” structures but are part of the body’s entire nervous system capable of transmitting pain and sensation to other parts of the body. Radiculopathy can occur when the root of the spinal nerve is compressed (nerve compression), for example, due to a ruptured disc of the lower back (lumbar herniated disc) or a bony protrusion or deformity also called osteophytes.
The six most common causes of sciatica
Several spinal disorders can cause spinal nerve compression and sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy. The six most common causes are:
- Protruding or herniated disc
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Piriformis syndrome
- Spinal tumor
Lumbar bulging disc or disc herniation
A bulging disc is also known as a limited disc disorder. This means that the gelatinous mass (nucleus pulposus) located between the vertebrae and serving as a shock absorber remains “contained” inside the rubber-like outer wall (annulus fibrosus) which prevents the nucleus from coming out of its place. Most people who show signs of a bulging disc will feel numbness, burning, and pain in the bulging area. The symptoms of a bulging disc are usually felt only when they become inflamed due to activity that puts pressure on the surrounding nerve.
A herniated disc causes far more pain. The pain is caused by the pressure of the disc located between the two vertebrae and which in this case is pushed towards the nerve coming out of the spine. A disc herniation not only causes the nerve root to compress directly into the inside of the bony spinal canal, but the disc material itself also contains an acidic, chemical irritant (hyaluronic acid) that causes nerve inflammation. In both cases, compression and irritation of the nerves cause inflammation and pain, often leading to numbness of the extremities, tingling, and / or muscle weakness.
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a disorder of nerve compression and most commonly affects the elderly. Sciatica-like leg pain may occur as a result of lumbar spinal stenosis. Pain is often caused by activities such as standing or walking and is relieved by rest. The roots of the spinal nerve branch outward from the spinal cord through passages called the neural foramen. Between each set of vertebrae, located on the left and right, is the foramen. The nerve roots pass through these openings and extend towards the spine. When spinal stenosis develops these passages become narrow or clogged causing nerve compression, the term foraminal stenosis is used.
Spondylolisthesis is a disorder that most commonly affects the lumbar spine. It is characterized by the sliding of one vertebra forward over the adjacent vertebra. When the spine slips and moves, compression of the spinal nerve root occurs and often causes sciatic pain in the legs. Spondylolisthesis is categorized as developmental (congenital or arising during childhood) or acquired by spinal degeneration, trauma, or physical stress (e.g., weight lifting, gymnastics).
Sciatica can be caused by direct nerve compression caused by external forces on the lumbar or sacral root of the spine. Examples include motor vehicle accidents, falls, injuries to football and other sports. A blow can injure a nerve, and fragments of a broken bone can compress nerves.
Piriformis syndrome is named after the muscle of the same name and the pain that occurs when the muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is located in the lower part of the spine, connects to the femur, and helps in the rotation of the hips. The sciatic nerve passes under the piriformis muscle. The syndrome develops when there is a spasm in the muscles of the piriformis.
Tumors of the spine
Spinal tumors are abnormal growths that are either benign or cancerous (malignant). However, when a spinal tumor develops in the lumbar region, there is a risk that sciatica will develop as a result of nerve compression
How to deal with sciatica?
As many as 40 percent of people suffer from sciatica during their lifetime, and it occurs more frequently later in life. It is usually confused with back pain, but it is a different type of pain. The pain originates from the sciatic nerves and often goes away on its own within a few hours or days.
However, some attacks can last for weeks or even months. Fortunately, you can do a lot to prevent sciatica as well as to relieve the pain.
Exercises for sciatica are key in preventing and helping to alleviate sciatica symptoms. When choosing exercises, make sure they are aimed at strengthening the core of the body. The core of the body is not only made up of the abdominal muscles, although they are crucial for the stability of the spine. The muscles of the back, hips, pelvis, and buttocks are also part of the nucleus. Strengthening all of these muscles helps support the spine. Many types of training, including yoga and pilates, can strengthen the core muscles. For example, the plank and bridge are movements that target the core. But if you are in the acute phase it is best to choose exercises specifically designed for people with sciatica.
Exercises for sciatica
The pain caused by sciatica can be so severe so that many people do not even want to move off the couch. But, as the first step in eliminating pain is making a diagnosis, that is, discovering the cause of the pain, the second step is exercise. The best way to relieve most sciatica pain is stretching that can rotate the hip from the outside which provides relief. These six exercises do just that:
- Reclining pigeon pose
Exercise brings quick pain relief.
- Lie on your back and raise your right leg at a right angle. Squeeze both hands over your knees locking your fingers.
- Lift the left leg and place the right ankle on top of the left knee.
- Tighten your chin to your chest and you will feel the neck stretch.
- Hold the position for a moment and repeat the exercise ten times. This helps stretch the small piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes inflamed and presses on the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
- Do the same exercise with the other leg.
- Once you manage to make a version from a lying position without pain, you can move on to the next exercise.
- Sitting pigeon pose
Exercise stretches the gluteus and lower back.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
Bend your right leg, placing your right ankle on top of your left knee.
Lean forward a few times and then stay leaning forward for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Take a bent leg with both hands and make a circle three times first to one side then to the other.
- Shake your foot and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
- Exercise stretches the gluteus and lower back.
- Forward pigeon pose
The exercise is specifically designed to bring relief from sciatica-induced pain.
- Kneel on the floor leaning on your knees and palms.
Bend your right leg, your lower leg should be on the ground, horizontally with the body. The right foot should be in front of the left knee.
Extend your left leg all the way behind you on the floor, with your toes on the ground.
- Slowly extend your arms in front of your body and then come to your forearms, inhaling and exhaling ten times in this position.
- Slowly get out of position and repeat with the other leg.
- Knee to the opposite shoulder
This simple stretching helps relieve the pain caused by sciatica, relaxing the gluteal and piriformis muscles, which can become inflamed and press on the sciatic nerve.
- Lie on your back with your legs outstretched.
- Bend your right leg and wrap your arms around your knees.
- Gently pull your right leg over your body toward your left shoulder. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
- You should feel comfortable in this position. You should feel relieved
Do three reps, then switch legs.
- Sitting spinal stretch
This stretching helps to create space in the spine to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
- Bend the right knee and place the foot flat on the floor on the outside of the opposite knee.
- Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to turn your body slightly to the right.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat three times, then change sides.
- Standing hamstring stretch
This stretching can help relieve pain and tighten the tendons in the knee caused by sciatica.
- Place your right foot on an elevated surface at or below the hip level. It could be a chair, a couch, or a staircase.
- Bend your foot so that your toes and foot are straight. If your knee hurts then keep your leg slightly bent.
- Bend your body slightly forward, towards your foot. The more you bend, the deeper the stretch. Do not force yourself to the point of feeling pain.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Don’t compare yourself to experienced trainers who are very flexible and which you see performing exercises to alleviate the ailments caused by sciatica on TV and YouTube. If you feel any kind of pain while performing the exercises you should stop. There are no universal exercises for everyone whose cause of pain is sciatica. If, after performing a certain exercise, you feel better, you should continue and try other exercises. In case the pain lasts longer than a month, it is necessary to visit a doctor or physiotherapist who will prescribe customized exercises.
Exercises to avoid if you suffer from sciatica
Exercise is one of the best ways to combat the effects of sciatica. But you also need to know which exercises to avoid. If you suffer from sciatica, avoid these exercises:
- Abdominals with outstretched legs – these exercises can disrupt the structure of the spinal cord, causing inflammation and numbness below the waist. Even permanent nerve damage can occur.
- Stretching of the abdominal muscles – this attitude can put pressure on the area of the spinal cord, which leads to compression of the sciatic nerve. Avoid this exercise at all costs.
- Squats – can result in damage to the lower spine, causing compression of the nerves and intervertebral discs. This could result in pain in the buttocks and legs.
- Weight lifting– allowed only when it is possible to provide adequate support to the lower back. Exercises for the arms, upper back, and shoulders are allowed.
- Leg exercises– it is better to avoid, especially in the phase when pain occurs.
- Exercises or training involving jumps– it is recommended to strictly avoid such activities.
What else can you do to relieve the pain caused by sciatica?
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Prolonged sitting puts pressure on the discs and ligaments in the lower back. If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, you often take breaks or do a couple of exercises suitable for the office.
- Control your weight. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of sciatica. Increased body weight puts pressure on the spine and can lead to a herniated disc. Even less weight loss will reduce inflammation and pressure on the spine.
- Practice good posture. Pay attention to body position when standing or sitting. Pull your shoulders back and lower them down. If you work at a computer, you take frequent breaks. Position the monitor so that you can see it without tilting your head or leaning back.
- Use painkillers. A proven cream that relieves pain caused by sciatica is Acuraflex. Acuraflex cream contains an effective formula of natural ingredients that have been known for centuries for their fast and strong action, primarily on acute and chronic pain caused by inflammation, sciatica, injuries, and degenerative diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Acuraflex cream is intended for men and women of all ages. It helps to quickly reduce or completely eliminate pain exactly where the pain occurs. Increases the mobility of joints and muscles, instantly calms, or eliminates stiffness. The ingredients of Acuraflex cream are exclusive of plant origin and, in addition to plant extracts, they contain vitamins, minerals, and essential oils. It does not cause side effects, nourishes the skin, and has a pleasant smell.
- Use dietary supplements to prevent or alleviate existing pain. Simultaneous use of Acuraflex capsules works optimally with Acuraflex cream. The capsules act on the symptoms long-term and inside the body, while the cream acts directly on the painful and inflamed area. Acuraflex capsules have a wide range of effects on all organs and parts of the body. Acuraflex formula is unique, strong, natural, non-invasive, and safe for the prevention and slowing of diseases such as sciatica, arthritis, osteoporosis, and health problems such as inflammation, acute and chronic pain related to bones, joints, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Acuraflex capsules are intended for men and women of all ages. They have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. They are also used by professional athletes and recreationists to increase the mobility of joints and muscles, prevent injuries, strengthen joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, or to naturally accelerate the regeneration of the body after injury. Both cream and capsules can be purchased without a prescription.