Sciatica is the pain caused when the sciatic nerve is irritated. The sciatic nerve is located at the base of the spinal column at the sacrum and coccyx area and stretches down to the legs. At the lower back, the sciatic nerve is comprised of four or five smaller nerves. This nerve is the longest and largest nerve of the human body. When one of the five root nerves that combined to form the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or compressed, this triggers pain throughout the entire sciatic nerve.
When the sciatic nerve is in pain, the surrounding areas of the body will also be in pain. This includes the lower back and legs. Pain can even radiate to the waist and feet. Sciatica pain can range from person to person. You may have mild sciatica one week and severe sciatica in another week. Sciatica pain can last for a few days to a few weeks. It may come and go. Because of the fact that sciatica isn’t actually a condition but a symptom of another condition, effective treatment must be done to correct the problem that caused the sciatica. Sciatica can’t be treated as an independent condition and must be looked at as a symptom.
To manage sciatica you need to understand what part of your body is in pain. If your legs are in pain, you should try to alleviate the pain there. If your back is in pain, you should focus on this area. Sciatica can first be treated with rest. Sometimes just taking it easy and relaxing can go a long way in soothing pain and allowing the body to recuperate from muscle sprains and injuries. Resting for a long period is not recommended however because this can allow muscles to become lazy and less able to build up strength. The next step up from resting is stretching. Stretching can help to loosen muscles and reduce whatever tension is now built up in your back and legs. Stretches that focus on moving the back, arms, legs, hips and torso in different extension movements are sure to diminish the pain. Make sure to devote time to stretching the hamstring.
Some specific exercises can help you to manage your sciatica. In addition to stretching exercises you need to do strengthening exercises. Strengthening exercises should focus on developing abdominal and back strength at your core. Aerobic conditioning may also be a good idea to help you become more healthy and fit.
Before you begin to exercise you may want to consult with a medical professional. Try to develop an exercise plan that is customized for you and whatever condition may have brought on your sciatica. It is counterproductive for you to attempt to do exercise if you don’t know how to do them. Exercising improperly can possible cause you to hurt yourself even more. If you overexert your muscles and exercise in a way that is harmful to your body, you will only exacerbate your sciatica.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011