The best way to relieve sciatic pain is through movement. Sciatica is caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Along with the pain that can be felt in the lower back, which may radiate down the leg to the foot, there can be numbness and weakness. The pain can become very severe and it may seem like bed rest is the likely way to get relief from sciatica, but that is not the case.
Exercise helps to reduce the pain in the short term, but also helps keep the muscles strong and able to support the back to avoid the frequency of painful flare-ups. Exercise also helps to keep the spine supple and strong. Movement encourages the nutrients and fluids in the discs to exchange, keeping them healthy.
Exercise that involves strengthening the core muscles is the most beneficial. Yoga is one of the finest, most gentle ways of stretching your core muscles. The poses done in yoga will engage the back and abdominal muscles and help keep them limber and loose. It is when they become tight that they can exacerbate the sciatic pain.
Those who suffer from flare-ups of sciatica will notice that they can recover quickly and go longer between bouts after a yoga class. It is very important, however, that you get an accurate diagnosis of sciatica before beginning any exercise regiment.
Dr. Justin Snyder