The largest and longest nerve in the body is called the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttock, and splits to run down the back of the legs. It is responsible for controlling muscle movement in the thigh and other parts of the leg as well. However, the sciatic nerve is most well-known for causing some problems with people suffering from a herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, injury to the lower back, or any other condition that causes inflammation or irritation to the sciatic nerve.
A herniated disc, for example, can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing it to become inflamed and irritated. This causes low back and leg pain and is often called sciatica. Sciatica can cause pain to run from the lower back, down the back of one or both legs, and in the worst cases it can also radiate to feet and toes.
During the first few days experiencing sciatica, it is best to rest and relax your back and legs. However, continued inactivity and bed rest can lead to the worsening of the condition. As muscles decondition due to inactivity, the back muscles are less able to protect the nerve from further irritation and damage. After the initial pain subsides and it is easier to move around, sciatica treatment exercises are recommended.
These exercises can help relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve and strengthen the core back muscles that protect this sensitive nerve. Some sciatica treatment exercises that are often recommended include piriformis muscle stretches, low back stretches, hamstring stretches, and core strengthening. An exercise routine including these specific target areas can reduce the occurrence of sciatica greatly.
It is common for sciatica treatment exercises to include a lot of stretching and holding. The reason for this is that it loosens the muscles in the affected region and allows room for the release of pressure on the nerve. Other exercise techniques will focus more on strengthening, such as the core strengthening exercises. This conditions the muscles in the core to easily support the back in a way that is healthy and relieves added pressure to the nerve.
Depending on the specific cause of the sciatica, the exercise routine will differ. However, all of the above mentioned exercises can help to protect from future back injuries and relieve most, if not all, sciatic pain already present.
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