Hopefully you are following along with our Sciatica series on Facebook, and if so, you know that we now want to share with you some tips and tricks you can use at home to help with that brutal sciatic pain. Of course, we as chiropractors are highly trained in how to treat sciatica. But we also know that the more a patient participates in their care and works to heal themselves the other 23 hours of the day that we don’t see them, the faster relief is gained and the problem can be FIXED rather than patched. That is what has motivated this post! Here are 3 things you can do at home to further assist in treating your sciatica symptoms.
1. Stretching. As I discussed in the last blog, a majority of the sciatica pain is due to one or many of the muscles in our back, butt, or legs being too tight. How do you fix something that is too tight? You stretch it! In our Facebook video on this topic, I recruited our Yoga instructor Tracy to share her knowledge and recommendation on this since she is the queen of stretching and flexibility. She suggest a lotus pose as a great stretch of the butt and hip muscles. This is when you are sitting with your legs crisscrossed (yes like when you were in kindergarten) but you have your feet on top of the opposite knees instead of under them. Definitely easier to show than describe so refer to the pic to the right! You should be holding your stretches for 15-30 seconds with deep, conscious breaths throughout. Tracy always talks about using the exhale as an opportunity to sink deeper into the stretch so keep that in mind when you are performing this one.
2. Strengthen deep intrinsic abdominal muscles. We have to strengthen the core as it is the center and powerhouse of our structure. The issue that commonly occurs with core exercises is we actually aren’t activating our core when we are doing them! What a concept. How is this fixed? Lay flat on the floor and place your hand on your stomach. Now cough. Feel how tight your abs got there? We need to maintain that tension and pressure when performing the ab exercises in order for them to be beneficial for our deep abdominal muscles which affect our stability. Once you have that established, bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground and you are able to lift your butt off of the ground. While doing this, think about not only keeping that core tight but clench those booty cheeks too. Talk about a double whammy! Strengthen your core and glutes all in one exercise. Then lower back down and repeat 15-20 more times. You can also do this with a hold, so holding 15-30 seconds in that position to build endurance in the muscles.
3. Lift properly. Whether you are lifting a heavy box while moving into your new home, or picking up your screaming toddler off of the grocery store floor, the technique you use is crucial. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say at some point, “Lift with your legs, not your back!” But what exactly does that mean? Basically, if you stabilize, or lock down the position of your back so it does not do the lifting motion, then the only option left to make the motion happen is to bend your legs. This doesn’t mean your back doesn’t bend at all, because it totally does. It should maintain about a 45 degree angle forward and stay in that position through all phases of the lifting process. Once again, way easier to show than explain so definitely refer to the picture ------>
For those sciatica suffers out there, do not put this off. Sciatic pain is famous for coming and going and the only reason for this is the problem gets patched rather than fixed. There are multiple components to healing your structure so call today to get an appointment and start on the road to recovery! 623.551.6677
Dr. Brian Hester, originally from Alabama, graduated from Life University in 1999 with his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He moved to Anthem, Arizona in 2003 and opened his wellness center. Dr. Hester's mission is to provide people in the North Phoenix area, with the tools they need to identify stressors in their life and the underlying causes of their health challenges. With Dr. Hester as a health partner, patients can make positive lifestyle changes and take control of their lives...... see more
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