Sciatica: 5 tips for relieving sciatic nerve pain

When I called my sister one afternoon I immediately knew something was wrong. After more than a year of pain, her physical therapist told her to strengthen her core muscles to relieve sciatic nerve pain. She was appalled that she paid for five minutes of talking and a silly medical solution, but the physical therapist was right. Sciatica pain can be closely related to weak core muscles and excess weight on the lower body. When fighting sciatica pain with little relief from medical therapies, it may be time to take matters into your own hands making lifestyle changes to relieve stress on the sciatic nerve.

Lose weight to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. Excess weight places pressure on back muscles and the lower body. Losing excess weight reduces this pressure, thus relieving some sciatic nerve pain. While reducing calorie intake is the first step in losing excess weight, exercise is just as important if you are suffering from sciatica.

Exercise core muscles to create a front to back balance. Many bouts of lower back pain are associated with an imbalance of strength between lower back and abdominal muscles. If the abdominal muscles are weak, the back muscles must take over to support upper body weight. This imbalance typically causes lower back pain, but in a patient with sciatica, it can cause severe pain that can be debilitating. The physical therapist was correct in prescribing abdominal muscle exercises for my sister. Even though these exercises may seem futile, they will slowly relieve pressure on the lower back and sciatica pain.

Add in aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is fantastic for weight loss, but it also strengthens muscles throughout the body. According to Spine-Health, walking is one of the better exercises for sciatic pain. It is best to start out slow and work up to several miles a day. When pain is worst, rest for a day or two and then jump right back into walking and other forms of very low impact aerobic exercise.

Practice relaxation exercises to reduce stress on muscles. When my sister gets stressed she immediately falls into extreme sciatica pain. Stress affects every muscle in the body causing tension and pain for people who don't suffer from sciatica. When the sciatic nerve is damaged or pinched, this tension can cause days or weeks of pain. Meditation, deep breathing and stretching are ideal exercises for stress relief.

Seek medical attention for something other than pain. Sciatica may be a chronic condition. Many medical professionals will not prescribe narcotic pain relievers for chronic conditions unless it is a last resort. If stress is causing extreme pain and tension, your attending physician may be able to prescribe medication to relieve stress. If depression is an issue, medical treatment may relieve sadness and pain associated with depression so you feel better about exercising.

Sciatica or sciatic nerve pain can be debilitating. There is nothing worse than seeing a family member in pain, but there are lifestyle changes that will help relieve that pain without prescription pain medications. Exercise, weight loss and stress relief may help relieve the worst pain so you can take control of your life and live without constant fear of sciatica.

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