Staying fit with sciatica

If you have sciatica, you may find it very difficult to exercise due to the extreme discomfort you feel on a regular basis. Since sciatica affects the low back, buttocks, legs and feet, many exercises may seem out of your reach while your symptoms are active.

However, depending on the severity of your symptoms, you might be able to stretch and strengthen other parts of your body to maintain your physical fitness without aggravating your condition.

How to exercise with sciatica

One of the most frustrating aspects of sciatica is that sciatica symptoms can make it very difficult to sit, walk and move without pain. But, there are ways to adjust your workouts to maintain some level of fitness until your sciatica symptoms start to improve.

We have compiled some helpful tips for you here to help you stay fit, even with sciatica:

  • See an expert — You should never begin a fitness regimen without first speaking with your physician. He or she will be able to tell you if you’re physically ready to work out and, if so, which exercises you should avoid to keep from hurting yourself and worsening your condition. Depending on where in your spine your sciatica symptoms originate, some exercises might be helpful to you while others should be limited.
  • Try strength training — If your physician determines that you are healthy enough to exercise, strength training can help you not only stay fit but may also help to reduce the symptoms of sciatica. For instance, strengthening your core muscles provides stability to your spine and in some cases can reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. You might also be able to work your upper body, including your chest, arms and upper back. Building muscles by lifting weights can help you avoid putting on extra weight because muscle burns more calories than fat, which can increase the number of calories you burn while sitting still.
  • Pace yourself — You might have been a marathon runner prior to the onset of your sciatica, but to avoid overexerting your body and aggravating the condition, it is important to pace yourself. Start slowly with exercises and stop if you don’t feel up to continuing. Pushing yourself through pain might worsen your condition.
  • Hire a trainer — Although not everyone can afford it, working with a trainer just a few times a month can help you avoid worsening your condition because he or she can help you maintain proper form while exercising. A trainer who has experience in working with people with sciatica can be even more helpful.
  • Meet with a physical therapist — Physical therapy is a great option for people with sciatica since physical therapists are specially trained to help people recover from injuries.

When you have sciatica, it may feel as though you will never find pain relief. The good news is that the majority of patients with sciatica do find improvement of their symptoms over time.

Find treatment for sciatica

When sciatica has you on the sidelines, and you want to be active, help is available. If you have tried conservative treatment options for sciatica for several months or more, and you have still not found relief from sciatica pain, we invite you to contact Laser Spine Institute.

At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery offers a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery. Performed on an outpatient basis, our surgery uses a small incision during surgery, thanks to our specialized, advanced techniques. Patients may find relief through our decompression or stabilization surgery, depending on the cause and severity of their sciatica pain.

Minimally invasive spine surgery is often a clinically appropriate option for patients experiencing severe sciatica symptoms due to a spine condition. 88 percent of our patients return to their daily activities within three months of having surgery.

Get fit and find relief

If you want to learn more about staying fit with sciatica, or learn more about the minimally invasive procedures performed at our center, please call a member of our Care Team.

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