sciatica seat cushion - A Guide To Exercises for Sciatica
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A Guide To Exercises for Sciatica

Why Exercise is Important Many doctors, physical therapists and other health practitioners recommend exercises for sciatica treatment and prevention. While bed rest or inactivity might be advised for the first day or so, extended activity allows the muscles to weaken and the pain can become worse. Sciatica exercises help to strengthen and stretch the muscles that support the back, alleviating the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Exercises for sciatica can also be beneficial in increasing circulation, which in turn provides oxygen and other nutrients to the discs in the spine, keeping them supple and healthy.


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In severe cases the leg may feel weak and the strength may be reduced. Often, disc bulges cause no back pain at all; the symptoms are felt only in the legs.

You may notice one shoulder higher than the other, one shoulder may be turned inwards compared to the other. Take note of any difference in the gap between your arm and your body - it may be greater on one side.

If you're reading this article, it's a good bet that you have a radiating pain running down the back of your leg that just won't go away. If what I'm about to tell you sounds familiar, don't worry, help is on the way.

Examples of Sciatica Exercises In the most acute phase of sciatica, many practitioners recommend only performing exercises to the point of discomfort. Pushing to the point of pain may only cause more injury and further delay healing. An individual may only be able to do the most basic of exercises for sciatica. Three of the most common exercises recommended for this phase are the pelvic tilt, lying prone, and hugging one or both knees to the chest. The pelvic tilt is performed lying on the back with the knees bent and contracting the abdominal muscles. Lying prone can be as simple as lying on the stomach with a pillow supporting the hips. Once there is more improvement, the head and torso can be lifted as well. The last exercise is done while lying on the back and bending the knee to the chest. All of these exercises for sciatica should be done carefully and only if there is no pain.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean: 1. If you sit on the edge of your chair with you legs separated and your feet pointing outward you are keeping your Piriformis muscle in a shortened position and that's how it gets tight and with extended sitting in that position, it gets weak form lack of use. Hence the imbalance.

Back Pain affects over 80% of adults at some stage. Yes you have heard and seen this countless times before. You may be reading this is pain right now and are one of these statistics. But...

Place your hands on your hips and see if one side is higher than the other. One foot may point straight and the other not. Any changes, especially significant changes, indicate postural changes that are usually a sign of muscular imbalances. These muscle imbalances will lead to extra pressure on areas of your back leading to back pain.

3. Pressure caused by Isthmic spondylolisthesis which is simply when a vertebrae slips or moves... this can sometimes pinch the sciatic nerve but often times people who have this condition don't have any pain, symptoms, or even know they have it!

1. Pressure caused by shortening and tightening of the piriformis muscle. This is almost always due to months or years of muscle imbalances in the hip rotator muscles.

Did you go see your primary care physician and get diagnosis of Sciatica only to have them refer you to an orthopedic specialist and than get a diagnosis of Piriformis Syndrome... and than be told to see a Physical Therapist and the PT tells you a little heat, ultra sound, electrical stimulation and some therapeutic exercises and we will have you good as new???

2. Another example is runners and bikers who actually work very hard tend to get sciatica because they fail to keep a strength vs. stretch balance in their workouts. Hence the imbalance creates a greater pull toward external rotation and the result is a tight Piriformis and an irritated sciatic nerve creating pain.

If your pelvis is twisted, when you lie down one side will put more pressure on your hand and less on the other side. This indicates a mis-alignment in the pelvis and lower back. This will commonly lead to back pain, whether it is lower back pain or sciatica.

The other way sciatic pain creeps into your life is due to your lifestyle and habits, and that is what we like to call the process. The process can be described as a prolonged onset of symptoms based on your everyday activities...

Sciatic pain comes about either due to a traumatic event, muscle imbalances, or a combination of both. The event scenario is most likely the catalyst for sudden onset of sciatic pain. So what happens' when there is undue stress on the Piriformis muscle that stress causes it to go into spasm and then you have pain due to the Piriformis muscle putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.

There are several self assessments you can perform to help identify which specific muscle imbalances you have and these are covered in our Lose the Back Pain Video along with step-by-step instructions on what to do to eliminate your imbalances and pain. You can learn more by visiting http://www.losethebackpain.com

2. Pressure caused by spinal stenosis, which is a decrease in the space between the vertebrae. This is primarily caused by uneven pressure and compression due to muscle imbalances.

Target specific areas Targeting exercises to the root cause of the sciatic episode will help the condition more quickly. Multiple diagnosed conditions can cause sciatica. For instance, the two most common causes affect two different areas of the body. A herniated disc will compress the sciatic nerve in the lower part of the spine, while in piriformis syndrome the nerve becomes irritated by the tightness of a muscle in the hip flexor region. A trained health practitioner can help the sufferer to develop exercises for sciatica which will most effectively treat the condition.

Why are so many people given the diagnosis of sciatica? Very often, as soon as anyone has any lower back or leg symptoms they are told that have sciatica. However, there are other things that can cause leg pain; a strained facet joint for example can cause pain in the buttock and thigh. But if the sciatic nerve is not irritated then it is not sciatica.

About the author:
Article by Jesse Cannone of http://www.losethebackpain.
com. Jesse is a certified personal fitness trainer and
post-rehab specialist and he has helped hundreds of individuals
to eliminate their back pain. Visit his site now and be sure to
sign up for his free email course on eliminating back pain.

Back Pain Test 3: This is called a straight leg raise. If at any time performing this test you notice any pain, stop it immediately. Perform this test gently and slowly...

Learn more about SciaticaGuide.comexercises for sciatica and treatment methods at our free resource: SciaticaGuide.com

Back Pain Test 2: Lie on your back and slide the back of your hands under your pelvis at belt height. Notice if one side is easer to place your hand under. There may be a height difference or it may appear that there is more weight crunching on one hand.

Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome are the same condition... it is just that the medical community is starting to call the condition by the muscle (Piriformis) that is involved and getting away from calling it by the name of the nerve that is involved (sciatic) nothing more than semantics.

Running down through the middle of the spine is a channel called the spinal canal, its here that the spinal cord sits. The spinal cord is the main structure that passes messages from our brains to our bodies.

When you have an injury to a muscle, both strength and flexibility are compromised, and if your recovery ends before strength and flexibility return, you will never be 100% and will likely struggle with the problem forever.

What are the symptoms of sciatica? If someone has true sciatica then they often have pain in the legs, usually in the buttock, back of the thigh or calf. There may also be pins and needles and numbness in parts of the leg.

In the legs there are two main, large nerves, the femoral nerve at the front and the sciatic nerve at the back. The sciatic nerve passes down through the buttock area into the back of the thigh and leg.

If this is the path you have been down and you're tired of all the worthless treatments that just don't work, you must read this article! I guarantee you, it will likely be far different than what you have read or heard anywhere else!

What if you are not experiencing back pain now. Is there a simple and reliable way to determine if back pain is likely to occur? After all if you know it is going to happen you can do things to avoid it or remove it before it happens.

In most cases, people go to physical therapy or minimize their physical activity to break the pain ' spasm cycle and in most cases your symptoms subside. However'the event will also set you up for a life time of sciatic pain if the Piriformis muscle does not recover 100% in both strength and flexibility.

This will save you a lot of pain, time, money and grief, as back pain affects your daily enjoyment of your working and social life. The following is a simple testing procedure to work out if you are likely to suffer back pain in the not too distant future. It could be lower back pain, sciatica, upper back pain or even neck pain, but if these tests are positive, then back pain is likely to occur.

So if you have any of these tests positive, and it could be one or all of them, back pain is likely to occur. It may be weeks or even months, but it will happen.

As you can see, there is a trend here... in nearly every case, muscle imbalances are the primary cause of the pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica or sciatic nerve pain is a term often used to describe all sorts of back pain. In fact, less than 5% of people who suffer from lower back pain will have sciatica.

 
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These are just two examples of how muscle imbalances can affect the Piriformis muscle and cause Sciatic pain. You may not be a runner or cyclist but I'll bet you have muscle imbalances that are causing your sciatic pain!

If any of these occur, the test is positive which indicates there is pelvic and lower back imbalance and muscular imbalances. Lower back pain, sciatica or back pain in general is likely to occur.

Find out what's causing your sciatic pain and learn exactly which exercises and stretches you should be doing by watching our Lose the Back Pain Video. Order your copy now online at http://www.losethebackpain.com

When the nerve is irritated by the disc bulge it can become inflamed. Remember what it feels like to hit your finger with a hammer or catch it in a door for a moment. Following the nasty sharp pain you are left with a dull ache. The finger may become red and swollen; there may be some heat or warmth there. After a while, those symptoms settle and everything gets back to normal. Its very similar with the sciatic nerve. It becomes very sore and can give you a lot of pain, even though it is not actually trapped or squashed.

One last point, sciaitic pain is not caused by a lack of prescription medications so don't think that taking some anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants will fix it... it won't! Also, many people are able to eliminate sciatic pain within days just by performing a few exercises and stretches... but not general exercise... the exact corrective exercises and stretches they need to do.

Back Pain Test 1: Look at your self in a mirror. Stand without trying to get into the perfect position. Just stand in a relaxed fashion and observe any postural differences.

An important thing to know is that many people have disc bulges and have no symptoms at all. There are some other conditions that can cause sciatic nerve pain but they are much less common. These include degenerative disc disease, severe osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis. Fractures, tumours and infection can also cause sciatica.

Lie on your back and raise one leg slowly as far as you can. Rest your leg down gently and then do the same for the other side. Notice if it is easier to lift one leg compared to the other. Is there any pain or stiffness performing this test? Can you lift one leg higher than the other?

To learn more about muscle imbalances and how they affect your body, please read our article 'Aches, Pains, and Injuries' which you can find on our website here: http://www.losethebackpain.com/achesandpainsarticle.html

The disc can and does cause problems however. Sometimes the central area of the disc bulges, usually backwards and sideways. This can cause an irritation of the nerve root as it leaves the spine. Occasionally the bulge is severe enough to actually squash or trap the nerve but this is fairly rare.

Sciatica is caused by a sciatic nerve irritation. This is most commonly caused by a disc bulge in the lower back. What is the sciatic nerve?

First, let me tell you why today's traditional treatment methods just flat out miss the boat. The medical community is so conditioned and focused on treating only the symptoms and trying to get in as many patients a day as possible, that many people are misdiagnosed and/or mistreated.

Prevent Future Episodes Once the pain has significantly subsided, many different types of sciatica exercises can help to further treat and prevent future episodes. Pilates, a program designed by Joseph H. Pilates, targets the core muscles through specific body and breathing exercises. Yoga is another discipline which helps to strengthen and stretch the muscles and spine. Physical therapists often have their patients perform exercises on a big balance ball. Keeping the ball stable works the core muscles that support the spine. Other exercises for sciatica can include swimming, walking and other low impact aerobic movements. Minimizing recurrences of sciatica can be as simple as doing exercises for sciatica on daily basis.

Sciatic pain is simply caused by pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve and there are primarily four things that can create this... you may have one or more of the following:

However, from a technical stand point the process really describes the development of the muscle imbalance in your hip. The Piriformis muscle is responsible for external rotation (moving your leg so your feet point outward). So over time that muscle gets tight from the positions you put your self in and weakens from lack of use.

What causes sciatic nerve pain? The most common cause of sciatica is a disc bulge. The disc is a very misunderstood structure; it has been blamed for back pain ever since it was discovered. Over the years we have started to believe that the disc is a really weak and vulnerable structure.

At each vertebra the spinal cord braches out to form a nerve root, these nerve roots leave the spine via a gap between each vertebra and then bundle together to form much larger nerves.

4. Pressure caused by a herniated or bulging disc. A herniation is when a disc protrudes out from between the vertebrae and this can either be caused by an event like a car accident, or, by months or years of uneven pressure due to muscle imbalances. It is also important to note that many people with herniated discs don't even experience pain or symptoms, and many don't know they have the condition.

To understand this you need to have a bit of an idea about human spine anatomy. The spine is made up of large bones called vertebra. These bones are separated from one another by spinal discs. Each vertebra overlaps the next at the back to form a joint called a facet joint.

The best way to tell if it is sciatica is to undergo a series of test that your physiotherapist or doctor can perform. These simple clinical tests will be enough to identify if the problem is an irritated sciatic nerve. Paula Fitzpatrick is a British trained physiotherapist specialising in the treatment of back pain. Visit The Lower Back Pain Toolkit for up to date, reliable information about the causes and treatment of lower back pain. Learn more about sciatica and sciatic nerve pain.

Recovery Tip: In severe cases, the sciatic pain can run from the top of the hip to the bottom of the foot. It is very important to recognize that changes and shifting of pain is often times a sign of improvement. Further more as a way of gauging recovery, take note of how far down the leg the pain goes. If the pain goes to the foot one day and then only makes it to the calf and then to the knee and then it can only make it to the hamstring that is a sign of improvement. You should feel good about those noticeable improvements and this should give you encouragement to keep working toward a full remission of pain.

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.

The term slipped disc makes it sound as if it can slip about inside. In truth the disc cant slip anywhere, it is firmly fixed at the top and at the bottom to the vertebrae above and below.

So how do you get rid of your pain? Will learning one new stretch be enough? It very well may be. However depending on the severity of your condition you may need to change your activities of daily living to include new stretches, new exercises that include the use of the hip rotators like roller-blading, basketball, tennis, etc, and even better, specific corrective exercise specific to your situation... like those covered in our video. As always, learn as much as you can about your condition, so that you can ask the tough questions to your healthcare providers and get the best care possible.

If you are experiencing back pain now, you should aim to correct it now before it becomes worse or chronic. If you are not experiencing back pain, and one of these tests is positive, then you should correct the imbalances now. After all prevention is easier than cure. Learn to correct your back pain issues before they become painful.

If you are not sure which one of the four is causing your sciatic pain, I recommend you start with the basics. Most cases of sciatic pain are caused by muscle imbalances so if you begin to work on correcting any muscle imbalances you have, you should start to see improvement right away.

Exercises for sciatica fall under three main categories: strengthening and stabilizing, stretching, and general conditioning. Including sciatica exercises from all three categories works synergistically to decrease the pressure on the sciatic nerve and can reduce the pain significantly. Many of the suggested exercises for sciatica target the muscles supporting the abdomen, back and torso, commonly referred to as the "core" muscles.

For more information on lower back pain issues just visit Lower Back Pain - http://www.back-pain-advisor.com/lower-back-pain.html

Receive a free e-book on back pain when you subscribe to our newsletter, just click here - Back Pain Adviser - http://www.back-pain-advisor.com/back-pain-adviser.html


Anna R. Guidry

 
 
     
 
 





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Why Exercise is Important Many doctors, physical therapists and other health practitioners recommend exercises for sciatica treatment and prevention. While bed rest or inactivity might be advised for the first day or so, extended activity allows the muscles to weaken and the pain can become worse. Sciatica exercises help to strengthen and stretch the muscles that support the back,...


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