The sciatic nerve is one of the longest nerve endings, running from your lower back area to your foot. If these nerve endings are sore, tight, or injured, they can cause frequent discomfort and heightened sensitivity in your muscles. Such discomfort often manifests itself as lower back pain, a tight hamstring, stiffness of the hips, and even abdominal pain.
The good news is that you can use a variety of personal exercise techniques to reduce sciatica. Exercise routines involve gently stretching your hamstring, keeping your ankles flexible, and using hot/cold therapy on affected muscles. Here's how you can incorporate these techniques into your exercise routine.
1. Hamstring Stretching
Stretching your hamstring is an effective way of keeping your sciatica nerve flexible and healthy. You can do this in several ways. Start by crossing your left foot over your right foot while you stand, and combine this with leaning your shoulders forward and back. This will gently stretch your sciatica nerves and reduce stress in affected muscles.
Another useful technique is to balance your hands on your hips while bending up and down. You can also gradually hold your bent position, increasing the resilience of your nerves. Repeating these exercises over time will also reduce recurrent discomfort.
2. Hot and Cold Therapy
Applying heat and cold conditions can help improve blood flow to injured nerve endings. In this way, the nerves will receive more nutrients, heal faster, and provide relief to discomfort areas. You can apply heat by gently massaging your thighs and legs in hot water. Mix these sessions by using a cold pack in the same location.
The temperature changes on your thigh and leg muscles will also decrease stiffness, making your body more flexible and resilient to injury. You can also mix heat therapy techniques by lying in a warm bath, using a hot water bottle, and visiting a spa.
3. Ankle Stretching
A stiff ankle contributes to a higher risk of sciatica pain. This is because stiffness increases soreness on nerve endings. You can make your ankle flexible by gently rotating the lower foot area while being seated.
Switch between your left and right foot, and also bend your ankle and toes repetitively during the process. This technique improves blood flow, increases strength, and reduces soreness.
Pumping your ankle (by gently bouncing up and down) will also help toughen your ankle area. Strong muscle tissue helps protect the sciatica nerves from damage, thus improving the health of your nerves and muscles over time.
If you are still suffering from back pain, see a chiropractor for help.