Let’s HEAL Your Sciatica

Posted on 06. Jan, 2015 by in Got a Question?, Health

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with sciatica issues.  As a child I had I remember my mother taking me to doctors to test for scoliosis and other explainations for my constant pain.  Test after test came back with no answers.  Finally my mother brought me to a chiropractor who explained my pain was due to my sciatica.  After regular adjustments, electrotrostimulation treatments and physical therapy we were able to keep the pain under control.

In 2002 when I left for college I stopped receiving regular chiropractic care and sure enough by my sophomore year the pain was so severe it felt as though my leg was constantly on fire.  Ironically I did not associate it with my previous sciatica issues.  After seeing multiple specialist including a rheumatoid arthritis specialitst, a zoonotic disease specialist and a neurologist I again found no answers.  After the neurologist informed me the next step was a spinal tap I called my mother to discuss what I should do and sure enough mom came to the rescue and recommended I see a chiropractor first.  Low and behold it was my sciatica again and although it took me almost a year to get my body back on track I once again was able to manage my pain.

In November 2013 I started my health journey with Beachbody.  It has completely changed my life.  I am healthier and happier then I have ever been and my sciatica pain is even more under control.  In fact most of the time it is none exhistant.  I have spent a year working hard to build up my strength especially in my core and this has really made a major difference in my sciatica related pain.

Prior to starting my health transformation journey I had looked into a program called the Mckenzie Method.  This is a program is a comprehensive approach to spinal care that is extremely successful.  Since I have built up my core strength, and spend most of my time sitting in kneeling chairs or with a lumbar roll, I have not needed to do these exercises daily but I won’t lie any time I have a flare up these exercises are my go to!  I have summerized the exercises below but I would strongly suggest if you experice sciatica pain on a regular basis you go to  www.optp.com and purchase your own copy of Treat Your Own Back.  It is only $10 and totally worth it!

How to know if the exercise is working and you are doing it right? 
The pain moves from the butt, leg, or side towards the middle lower back.  The pain intensity will decrease. Your range of motion will increase.

When pain starts:
Sit as little as possible and when you are sitting use lumbar roll in a straight back chair.  Do not lift anything heavy especially over 30 pounds.  If you are going to sneeze or cough stand up and lean backwards slightly supporting your lower back if needed.

What exercises should I do when?
If your back is weak or painful you should only use exercises 1-4 for a few days prior to moving on to exercise 5. After adding exercise 5 for a week add exercise 6.  After adding exercise 6 for a week add exercise 7.

Once back is in shape and almost pain free perform exercise 3 morning and night, exercise 4 after sitting or bending for long times and before/after heavy lifting.  Do exercise 7 one to two times a week and sit using a lumbar roll.

Exercises:
1.    Lay flat on your stomach with your head to one side.  Hold for two to three minutes releasing as much tension as possible in the low back. If pain is really strong do this 6-8 times a day at first until the pain eases.

2.    Hold yourself up chest off the ground resting on your forearms for 2-3 minutes while taking deep breaths.

3.    Push up as much as you can to the point of pain but not past it.  Hold for 2-3 seconds then lower down. Repeat this rhythmically until you can have straight arms.  Your lower back should be sagged.  Once you have straight arms hold for 2 seconds or longer if the pain is centralizing.  Repeat 10 times.  If pain is bad do this exercise 6-8 times a day. Once or twice a day for maintenance.

4.    Hold hands exactly as pictured.  Support lower back while leaning backwards and hold for 1-2 seconds then stand straight.  Repeat several times to reach maximum extension.  Use when sitting slouched for long times to break up stiffness as well as before heavy lifting.

After pain subsides some and back strengthens (typically over a few days) add exercises 5-7.
Use exercise 3 or 4 in between each of the following exercise!

5.    Pull knees towards chest until the point of pain for 1-2 seconds. Do not raise head.  Repeat this rhythmically until knees touch chest.  If sore do 5-6 repetitions 3-4 times a day.

6.    If your back is out of shape this exercise should be added one week after doing exercise 5 daily.  Bend over and touch floor. Do not hold this position immediately go to starting position again.  Repeat rhythmically and each time go a little further until head is as close to floor as possible.  Do 5-6 repetitions of this exercise and if sore do it 3-4 times a day followed by exercise 3 or 4.

7.    If your back is out of shape this exercise should be added after two weeks of exercise 6. Bend forward to the first sign of pain. Immediately stand up. Repeat rhythmically bending a little further each time until you can or almost can touch the floor.  Do not remain bend over.  Do 5-10 repetitions 1-2 times a day followed by exercise 3 or 4.  Do not do first thing in the morning.

What do I do if I do not see a change in pain from the exercises?
Try exercise three but strap your waist down or have someone push on your low back during the exercise.  If this pressure helps repeat 6-7 times 2-3 times per day for one to two days. If not buy the book 😉 And read page 68

If pain is more on one side then the other perform exercise 1, 2 and 3 by modifying them.  Shift hips away from pain 3-4 inches and hold each exercise 3-4 minutes.  Do this for 3-4 days and then stop shifting.  If it is too difficult to lay down do slide glide in door and or against wall as described below.

Slide glide in door: Stand in middle of the door feet shoulder width apart. Place palms and forearms vertically in frame. Move pelvis away from pain going as far as you can then recenter. Release to neutral. Repeat ten times.

Slide glide against wall: Stand 12 inches from wall. Lean pain free side against wall with feet together. Slide pelvis towards wall by pushing with other hand.  Release to neutral.  Repeat ten times

I hope this helps all of you heal!

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