Sciatica spreads along the path of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the human body. Sciatica pain is caused by compression of this nerve and it begins from the lower back nerve, radiating to the lower part of one leg or the foot. This type of pain is a common complaint, currently affecting 5 to 10 percent of American adults.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica
- Burning and tingling sensation
- Intense pain in a sitting position
- Piercing pain felt in one leg/ buttock
- Loss of bowel and bladder control ( in severe cases)
Causes of Sciatica Pain
- Slipped disc
- Spinal infections
- Slipped vertebrae
- Spinal stenosis
- Cauda equine syndrome
- An injury
Ways to Prevent Sciatica Pain
- A proper body posture
- Sleeping on firm mattress
- Regular exercise to strengthen the back muscles
- Regular practice of lifting technique
- Sitting in adjusted car seat which provides support for the lower back
Exercises that Prevent and Relieve Sciatica Pain
1. Hamstring Stretch Exercise
Begin by sitting on the floor with a straight back and stretched legs. Take a deep breath and lean forward to reach the toes with the hands while exhaling. Push the collarbone towards the feet and hold this position for 30 seconds.
2. Knee Lifts Exercise
Begin by lying on the back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep the arms flat by your sides while raising the legs at a foot height from the ground and lowering them very slowly. Repeat 5 times.
3. Piriformis Stretch Exercise
Again, begin by lying on the back with your knees bent. Push the heels towards the buttocks, cross one leg over the other, and rest your ankle. Stretch the hips and stay like that for 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
4. Knee To Chest Stretch Exercise
Lie on the back and bend the knees while keeping the feet firm on the floor. Put your hands around one knee and pull to the chest. Hold this position for 20 seconds and do the same with the other leg.
5. Back Extensions Exercise
Keep the feet and hands flat on the floor and the fingertips at an eye level while lying face up on the floor. Arch the back by pushing the hands and hold this position for a few seconds. Lower the back to the floor and repeat 10 times.
6. Gluteal Stretch Exercise
Lie on the back and bend the knees. Raise the left leg and place the ankle on the right thigh. Put your hands around the right thigh, pull it close to the body, and hold this position for 20 seconds. Do 3 repetitions with both legs.