sciatica neuralgia - What are the 3 Best Exercises for Sciatica?
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What are the 3 Best Exercises for Sciatica?

Did you know there were 3 simple exercises that could dramatically change your sciatica? Yes, sciatica could actually ease and disappear and never to return. Wouldn't that be great!


Just imagine being able to walk freely, enjoy life, play with your children. All without that nagging sciatica that has become a real "pain in the butt". Life would be so much easier and happier, wouldn't it?


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 The discs which cushion the vertebrae in the lower back become progressively thinner and harder as we get older. This stresses the lower back and often causes a variety of lower back pain disorders, including sciatica.

In extreme cases spinal injections of corticosteroid into the epidural space (the area around the spinal nerves) or facet joint (between vertebrae) may be given. This is usually carried out by a specialist with follow up injections at a later date.

Sciatica can be helped and you can change your sciatica quickly. Learning to stretch and strengthen the main muscles that cause your sciatica can ease your pain quickly and remove that nagging sciatica once and for all.

Before reviewing specific sciatica exercises, it is first important to explain what sciatica is, as the term sciatica is often misused and its definition often misunderstood. Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis in itself (meaning it does not explain the cause of the pain). Sciatica (radiculopathy) is a general term that refers to pain caused by compression or irritation of one or more nerves exiting the lower spine that make up the sciatic nerve, and there are a number of different conditions that can cause this.

It is also important to maintain a reasonable body weight, ensure you have a good posture, sleep on a mattress that is neither too soft nor too hard, be careful when bending or lifting heavy weights.

The cause The most common cause of sciatica is a prolapsed (slipped) disc, pinched nerves or some form of arthritis. It usually starts with back pain which sometimes improves only to be followed by hamstring or calf pain. It may also include numbness in the toes depending on which branch of the sciatic nerve is irritated.

What to stretch is important, how and when to stretch is essential. Especially if you want to change your sciatica quickly and permanently. Perfect stretching is the key!

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4. Take A Seat The Right Way When you do have to sit, make sure that your posture does not make your sciatica worse. Your knees and hips should be bent at about 90-degree angles. Your weight should be on the ischium tuberosity - the sitting bones - and not on the tailbone.

As a last resort you may consider surgery to remove fragments of the prolapsed disc are then removed. As I mentioned earlier it is important to stay active and continue with an exercise and stretching program. Especially do exercises to develop your back and stomach muscles. This will help stabilize your spine and support your body.

Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes.

5. Flex Your Pelvis Pelvic tilts allow you to gently move the lumbar region of your spine, increasing circulation in the area. It is recommended to follow these instructions. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Tilt your pelvis so that your back flattens against the ground, then lift it up. Hold for 5 seconds and relax. Continue tilting and lifting and relaxing five to six times every hour when sciatica flares up.

There are many different treatments for sciatica and it is important to discuss these with your health practitioner. Accurate diagnosis to determine the exact cause of sciatic pain is also equally important. The most conclusive diagnosis is usually gained by a having an MRI scan. However having said that skilled medical practitioners, and I include Osteopaths and Chiropractors, are often able to determine the suspected cause by carrying out a physical examination

The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that travels from the low back through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. The vast majority of people who experience sciatica get better with time (usually a few weeks or months) and find pain relief with non-surgical sciatica treatment. For others, however, sciatica can be severe and debilitating.

The 3 most important muscles to target if you suffer sciatica are the abdominal, hip flexor and Piriformis muscles. Target these and sciatica is easily controlled.

The Cure Some cases of sciatica which result from inflammation get better with time and heal themselves perhaps within six weeks to three months.

Sciatica is pain that starts in the back and radiates down one of the legs. It is quite a common complaint and is sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve which runs down into the leg. The medical term is acute nerve root compression. The cause of pressure can be varied from a Slipped (Prolapsed) disk to muscle tension (Piriformis syndrome) or something less common such as a tumors, bony growths and infections.

The spine is made up of a series of connected bones called "vertebrae." Spondylolisthesis or isthmic spondylolisthesis occurs when a cracked vertebra slips over the vertebra below it. Poor posture and curvature of the back or weak abdominal muscles can contribute to this slippage, which can press on the nerve. The presence of this spondylolysis usually does not represent a dangerous condition in the adult and most treatments concentrate on pain relief and increasing the patient's ability to function.

What it is Sciatica is the name people give to a pain in the buttock, leg or foot brought on as a direct result of some form of irritation to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It runs all the way from the lower back splitting at the base of the spine and terminating in the foot.

Other treatments to manage sciatica include traction; manipulation by a skilled osteopath, physio therapist or chiropractor; Chemonucleolysis (injection of a special enzyme into the disk).

In actual fact there are 3 simple exercises that can help you to remove your sciatica and help to prevent any recurrences as well. They are as follows...

Stretching and exercising are a must if you really want to progress along the road to rehabilitation and if you are in extreme pain this is probably the last thing you will contemplate doing.

3. Go For Yoga Practicing certain yoga exercises can help ease sciatic pain. It is recommended to try out this exercise. Lie on your back with your claves resting on the seat of a chair. Your hips and knees should be bent at about 90-degrees angles. Cross your arms over your chest and place your hands on your shoulders, not on your neck. Inhale, then begin a long, slow exhalation. During the exhalation, tilt your pelvis so that your lower back moves to the floor as you flatten your abdomen. Raise your shoulders 6 to 10 inches off the ground. Lower your right shoulder to touch the floor. Repeat, this time lowering and raising your left shoulder instead. Do this five to six times per side.

Relax Your Hip Flexors The hip flexor muscle group if tight increases the curve of our lower back. This increases pressure on the sciatic nerve and allows your sciatica to occur. The hip flexors and abdominal muscles work together. A strong abdominal group and a balanced hip flexor group give you stability, flexibility and strength in your lower spine.

If this is achieved your sciatica will disappear quickly and is easy to prevent. To stretch the hip flexors, you need to target them correctly and the most important aspect of stretching is not what to stretch, but when and how to stretch. Knowing when and how means you spend minimal time stretching with maximum gains. Easing tension can be achieved within days not weeks or months.

Abdominal strength requires a good nerve and blood supply to the abdominal muscles and then targeted exercise that increases the strength of these muscles in days. To improve your abdominals you need ideal strengthening techniques.

1. Adjust Your Seat Most people position the car seat too far back when they drive. You put a lot of strain on your back when you have to stretch to reach your pedals. You should be able to press the gas pedal just by flexing your ankle. Your hips should be at about 90-degree angle, and your back should be in neutral, not bent, not perfectly straight, but comfortable.

 
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Causes While sciatica is most commonly a result of a disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of this nerve can reproduce the symptoms of sciatica. These causes include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections, injury, and other causes.

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a small muscle behind the gluteus maximus. Piriformis syndrome is most common among women, runners and walkers.

A primary cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging lower lumbar intervertebral disk that compresses one of the nerve roots before it joins the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, irritation of a branch of the sciatic nerve in the leg can be so severe as to set up a reflex pain reaction involving the entire length of the nerve. For example, if the nerve is pinched or irritated near the knee, you may feel the pain in the hip and buttock.

Sciatica is usually caused by a prolapsed or 'slipped' disc bulging and pressing on to a nerve. It doesn't usually cause permanent nerve damage since the spinal cord is not present in the lower part of the spine and a prolapsed or herniated disc in this area does not pose a risk of paralysis.

2. Don't Get Crossed You tend to cross the same leg all the time. That means you are always sitting on the same buttock, which puts a lot of pressure on the sciatic nerve on that side. Ideally, you should not cross your legs at all. But if you must, at least try to switch sides from time to time.

Sciatic pain is usually nerve related and responds well to treatment with low doses of tricyclic anti-depressant drugs like amitriptyline, dothiepin, nortriptyline, lofepramine, desipramine, clomipramine or imipramine combined with acupuncture or the use of TENs machines. The low dosage of the tricyclic drug acts by closing "a pain gate" blocking the message to the brain.

Abdominal muscle strength does not mean spending countless hours doing sit-ups or crunches. In fact these types of exercises do little to strengthen the abdominals; they can actually target the hip flexors which if over tight help create your sciatica.

Recent studies have shown that bed rest is not necessarily the best way to treat sciatica. It is better to remain active, starting off with some gentle stretching and exercise. Swimming is particularly useful, as it is not a weight bearing exercise. The good news is that herniated spinal discs usually do heal on their own, given time.

Nerves are cord like structure which consist of several nerve fibres. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve of our body which is also called as Great Nerve. It is around 2 cms in diameter. It arises from nerve (roots) plexus emerging from the sacrum (back part of hip bone). It comes out of the pelvis through greater sciatic foramen (opening) in the hip bone with piriformis muscle which unites hip joint and femur. From there it descends on the backside of the leg, deep into the gluteus muscles (buttock). It gives out branches tibial nerve and common peroneal nerve to supply medial and posterior aspect of leg.

This information in this article should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. You should always consult with your health care professional especially relating to the suitability of supplements or drugs and on all health matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention. If you suffer from progressive weakness in the leg or bladder or bowel incontinence this constitutes a medical emergency and you should seek immediate medical attention - you may have cauda equina syndrome a serious condition due to compression of the nerve roots in the lower end of the spinal canal.

Bill Morrison has his own website http://www.help4urback.com where he describes his own personal experiences coping with lower back pain and sciatica. He also includes personal recommendations for people who suffer from sciatica or lower back pain including what books to buy, TENs machines, and what web sites to check out.

Spinal stenosis is the name given to the narrowing of the nerve channel (vertebral canal) of the spine. This narrowing causes compression of either the spinal cord within the vertebral canal, or the nerve roots that exit the spinal cord. People with spinal stenosis experience sciatic pain symptoms in the legs and feet. It usually results from degenerative arthritis causing a narrowing of the spaces in the vertebral canal. Manual workers are more prone to developing symptoms of spinal stenosis but it seldom affects people under 30 years of age - unless it is due to traumatic injury to the vertebrae.

Dr Graeme Teague is an expert in the structural field, and has been in practice since 1991. His newly launched web site The Back Pain Advisor - http://www.back-pain-advisor.com - strives to give you valuable and expert advice, tips and information on your back pain issues.

Strengthen Your Abdominals Your abdominal muscles are the most important muscle for pelvis and lower back stability. Your sciatica is caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve. This is formed from 5 nerve roots that exit the last parts of your spine. If your abdominal muscles are stringer then these areas are more stable and able to move easier.

Piriformis Stretching The sciatic nerve either runs through or next to the Piriformis muscles. If tight the Piriformis allows sciatica to occur. So with all sciatica, Piriformis stretching is essential. Stretching the Piriformis is simple and the same rules apply...

6. Write Your Own Prescription Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen remain the treatment of choice for sciatica. They can reduce any nerve inflammation caused by the pressure of a herniated disk. These medications won't cure your pain, but they will make it more tolerable.

If your pain is not relieved by analgesics or NSAIDs, your doctor might prescribe narcotic analgesics (such as codeine) for a short time. Side effects of these include nausea, constipation, dizziness and drowsiness, and continued use may result in dependency.

There is a fairly new procedure called IDET which stands for Iintro Discal Electrothermy). When a disc is herniated the water content of the inflamed disc causes it to bulge and press against the nerve. IDET dries up the disc very quickly, in less than 20 minutes, a process which might take weeks or months if left to dry up naturally

7. Give Your Legs A Lift Try to keep pressure off the lumbar region of your spine, from which most sciatica pain radiates. It is recommended lying on your back with your lower legs resting on a chair or a low table such as a coffee table. Your knees and hips should be bent at about 90-degree angles. Do this as needed for relief.

Since getting mobile and becoming flexible is extremely important you might require some pain management to help you get going. For mild cases of sciatica your doctor may start off by recommending non prescription medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, known as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. A downside of these drugs is that they may cause stomach upsets or bleeding.

It is pain in the butt quite literally. It can also be a pain in the hip, the thigh, the lower leg, or even the foot. In fact, the condition known as sciatica can send pain shooting anywhere in your lower body. What is causing all the commotion is the sciatic nerve, which is not one but a group of nerves bound together in a single sheath. The sciatica nerve runs from your lower back down each leg all the way to the foot. When it is injured, inflamed, or irritated, it can produce pain at any point or every point along its route. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disk. Disks separate the vertebrae in your spine. The result is excruciating pain. On rare occasions, sciatica can result from other health problems. Some are serious, such as diabetes, blood clots, and tumors. But others are minor. You can even get sciatic pain from sitting too long in an awkward position. So have your pain checked out before you proceed with self-care. Here are some tips that you can consider to adopt to relieve your pain.

Raymond Lee is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is the Founder of Bodyfixes Group specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.

Other medications like Corticosteroids taken orally or by injection are sometimes prescribed for more severe back and leg pain because of their very powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Corticosteroids also have side effects and the pros and cons of taking them should be fully discussed with your doctor.

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