There is a particular nerve that runs all the way from our lower spine region and buttocks, right down to the feet, which is known as the sciatic nerve. Any impingement of the nerve results in sharp pain, tingling sensations, numbness and weakness in the lower parts of the body; all of which are symptoms of the impingement, or what we call sciatica.
WHAT CAUSES SCIATICA?
General medical reasons for someone experiencing sciatic nerve irritation are as follows.
- Impingement by tightened piriformis muscles
- Weakened lower back and upper thigh muscles
- Impingement by a herniated disc
- Spondylolisthesis and stenosis are structural disorders of the body that can also contribute to sciatic nerve irritation
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT SCIATICA?
Most of the patients who experience sciatic pain do so because of muscular imbalances. For example, when the quads and the psoas become too tight, it can trigger sciatica. It happens because these are the muscles present in front of the upper leg, which on becoming tight, will cause structural imbalance, and therefore, the muscles on the back of our legs and buttocks will automatically press down hard on the sciatic nerve.
To prevent this from happening, workout on your hip and muscles in the lower back regularly to keep them strong, so that structural balance is maintained and the sciatic nerve is not pinched. In addition to the weight training necessary for strengthening the muscles, you will also need to stretch your entire lower body on a regular basis as well. A combination of strength conditioning and regular stretching of the lower half can do wonders for both preventing sciatica and reducing its impact.
ARE THERE EFFECTIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SCIATICA?
In addition to the stretches and exercises, sciatic pain and other associated symptoms need to be addressed as soon as possible by medical professionals, in order to prevent permanent nerve damage. In fact, there is a very helpful article called Sciatica Facts Vs. Fiction: 5 Common Myths Busted, on the Wimbledon Clinics website which highlights the danger of this myth regarding sciatica being a minor issue. For the actual treatment, visit the team of sciatica specialists at Wimbledon Clinics in person to learn how you can effectively manage, reduce and treat chronic or episodic sciatica with great results. You might be surprised to know that even the most severe sciatic pain can be dealt with, without having to go under the knife.
Do not hesitate to visit the team of sciatica specialists at Wimbledon Clinics even if you are not sure that the pain you are experiencing is sciatica because not only can the clinic confirm what the original cause of the symptoms is, they can effectively treat any and all kind of other injuries as well, ranging from bicep tears to ankle instabilities, and everything in between.
SHOULD YOU LIFT WEIGHTS IF YOU HAVE SCIATICA?
A lot depends on your body’s condition, age, associated or unrelated health conditions, and the cause for the sciatic nerve irritation in the first place. For example, if a herniated disc is causing all the problem, you cannot just go to the gym and start doing barbell rows to strengthen your lower back because that will just make it worse! On the other hand, if the sciatic nerve is being impinged due to a weak lower back and you do not have any conditions that prohibit weight training, barbell rows, weighted lunges, hack squats, etc., are all good options to actually relieve sciatic pain. Nonetheless, only the professional medical experts can tell you for sure if weight training is an option for you, after diagnosing the entire situation.
CAN FOAM ROLLER EXERCISES HELP SCIATICA?
Foam roller exercises are, in fact, one of the best and most recommended forms of exercise to both relieve and prevent sciatica symptoms. It suits all ages and usually doesn’t cause complications in most patients. Take note of the following steps to get an idea regarding how to properly use foam rolling for relaxation and prevention.
STEP 1 – Sit on an even surface with a roller under your thighs and roll the back of your legs and the buttocks over the roller for a minute.
STEP 2 –On an even surface, lay on your right/left side, with the roller lying under the side of your thigh. Roll your body from the side of the upper thigh, right down to the side of your calf muscle, and then back up again. Continue for one minute.
STEP 3 – Repeat Step 2, but on the other side (left/right).
STEP 4 – Lie on your stomach, so that this time around, the roller will be placed just below your waist. Roll up to the point before the knee cap begins and go back up again for one whole minute.
Aside from the foam roller exercise, stretching of the Piriformis and the hip flexor muscles are also highly recommended to see improvement while experiencing sciatica. However, as mentioned before, always consult your specialist doctor before commencing with any new exercise or stretch because it can potentially worsen an impingement or further aggravate a herniated disc.