Let me first explain what sciatica is and why you need to be careful. Sciatica presents as a leg pain which usually feels like electric shock like sensations, tingling, pins and needles or shooting pain.
Sometimes the sciatic nerve may get compressed from some structures in your lower back. The nerve, just like any other structure in your body, has a blood supply and needs oxygen for its health. When the nerve is compressed, this blood and oxygen supply may get compromised. The nerve becomes unhappy and causes nerve pain, which you feel as the shooting pain, pins and needles and tingling down your leg. Stretching or tensing the nerve can lead to a further reduction of blood and oxygen to the nerve and worsen your symptoms.
If you can relate to this, keep watching to learn what movements you should avoid, and what you should do instead.
Don’t make sciatica worse
So here are some of the exercises you need to avoid that can stretch the nerve and cause tension when you have sciatic pain, particularly in the initial stage of injury.
- If you get more symptoms or increased pain in the leg moving backwards and get some relief in a bent position, it is essential you avoid back extension exercises.
- The opposite of this can happen where your symptoms might increase while bending forwards. Following are the exercises that you should avoid in these instances:
- bending down completely in standing
- sitting slouched with leg hanging on the table and neck down
- hamstring stretch in standing – with complete neck down position
Now you know what to AVOID if you think you have sciatic pain.
Physio CAN help with sciatica
Here’s what you SHOULD do instead. If you are experiencing any nerve pain, it’s important that you get it assessed by a physio as soon as possible. The good news is that with early assessment and management of sciatic pain, your symptoms will improve and your function will return. If that’s you, click on our link to book an appointment to have your nerve pain assessed and you’ll be on your way to being pain-free.