In most instances of sciatic pain, a controlled, progressive exercise program that is tailored around the underlying cause of the sciatic pain will be part of the recommended treatment program. The specific sciatica exercises serve two main purposes..

Reduce the sciatic pain in the near term

Provide conditioning to help prevent future reccurances of the pain.

While it may seem counterintuitive, exercise is usually better for relieving sciatic pain that bed rest. Patients may rest for a couple of days after sciatic pain flares up, but after that time period inactivity will normally make pain worse.

without exercise and movement the back muscles and spine structures become deconditioned and less able to support the back. The deconditioning and weakening can lead to back injury and strain, which causes additional pain. Movement helps exchange nutrients and fluids within the disks to keep them healthy and prevent pressure on the sciatic nerve.



Many sciatica exercises serve to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles in order to provide more support for the back. Stretching exercises for sciatica target muscles that cause pain when they are tight and inflexible. When patients engage in a regular program of gentle strengthening and stretching exercises, they can recover more quickly from a flare up of sciatica and are less likley to experience future episodes of pain.



Regardless of the diagnosis, most types of sciatica will benefit from a regular routine of hamstring stretching. The hamstrings are muscles located in the back of the thigh. Overly tight hamstrings increase the stress on the lower back and often aggrivate or even cause or even cause some of the conditions that result in sciatica.



In addition to specific sciatica exercises, aerobic conditioning may also be encouraged for general fitness.

Walking is an excellent form of exercise for the lower back because it is relatively low impact but can provide all the benefits of an aerobic workout. If possible, it is best to gradually progress to doing up to 3 miles of exercise walking at a brisk pace each day.

In addition to clinical diagnosis, sciatica exercise programs typically include guided exercises to ensure the program is effective and does not lead to continued or increased pain. It is generally advisable to learn the exercises under the guidance of appropiately trained health practitioner, such as a physical therapist , chiropractor, or physiatrist.



Caring for sciatica should be considered part of daily living, not just something to add to the routine at the end of the day. In addition to an exercise routine, patients with sciatica should minimize everyday stress on the lower back, including using appropriate ergonomics while lifting, maintaining good posture, making sure the lower back is supported while sitting, and avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.


Before exercising it is important to first get an accurate diagnosis for the cause of sciatic pain.


Damian Gilder

Author Damian Gilder

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