Sciatica exercises for pain relief

Specialized exercises may help you find relief from sciatica pain, which often stems from a degenerative spine condition or an abnormality in the lower back (lumbar spine). When certain types of spine conditions compress the sciatic nerve (the longest and widest nerve in the body), uncomfortable symptoms may occur. Common sciatica symptoms include an electric shock sensation, localized or radiating pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet. To learn about possible exercises to help you find relief from your condition, read the following article.

How exercise helps sciatica

If you have sciatica, you may be able to find pain relief with the help of conservative treatments. Pain medication, massage, anti-inflammatories, low-impact exercise and physical therapy often provide relief for sciatica symptoms without the need for surgery. Targeted exercises, under the close supervision of a trained therapist, may also help you find long-lasting relief from discomfort caused by sciatica.

Some of the specific goals of exercises for sciatica include:

  • Strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen, back and buttocks to support the spine and maintain alignment, thereby allowing normal twisting, flexion and extension
  • Targeting tight or inflexible muscles, especially of the hamstrings, to relieve tension from tight muscles, thereby decreasing stress on the lower back
  • Improving circulation and fluid exchange through low-impact cardiovascular exercises, such as walking or swimming, to help facilitate the flow of healing nutrients and endorphins (the body’s natural pain medication)

At times, sciatica symptoms do not improve after several weeks or months of exercise therapy and other conservative treatments. In some cases, sciatica symptoms may even begin to worsen. If this happens to you, your doctor may recommend that you consider surgical treatment, such as the minimally invasive treatments offered at Laser Spine Institute.

Discover the Laser Spine Institute difference

At Laser Spine Institute, our surgeons specialize in relieving neck and back pain. Our minimally invasive spine surgery for sciatica is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery, and it offers you a number of benefits compared to traditional spine surgery, such as a shorter recovery period and a lower risk of complication.^

Our board-certified surgeons+ perform two types of procedures to help patients with sciatica pain — minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery removes a portion of the damaged disc, vertebra or joint that is pressing against the sciatic nerve using a less than 1-inch incision.

If the damage to the spine is more advanced, a minimally invasive stabilization surgery may be used to replace the damaged disc or joint with an artificial disc and/or bone graft. This allows us to stabilize the spine while still maintaining a close-to-normal range of motion after surgery, unlike traditional fusion that renders a portion of the spine immobile. If you are interested in learning more about sciatica spine surgery options offered at one of our outpatient surgery centers, please contact a member of our team.

We will be happy to review your MRI and CT scan for free* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.

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