Sciatica is a medical term referring to symptoms of leg pain, tingling, numbness or weakness that starts in the lower back and travels down along the sciatic nerve. For many people, it is a short-term illness, but for others it can not only be severe, but it can also have an effect on the way they live. In addition to medical treatment, there are exercises that you can do to help alleviate the pain associated with this condition.
Benefits of Water Exercise
Doing exercise routines in a pool of water has several benefits for people suffering from sciatica and other lower-back pain conditions. If you are older or carry a lot of weight, water's natural buoyancy helps carry the load as you stand or move in the water. Movements such as lifting your legs are a great deal easier in water. The viscosity of water provides natural resistance to movements, allowing simple exercises to go farther in building strength. This also reduces the risk of injury you could encounter with lifting weights.
Water Exercise Variations
There are several groups of exercises you can do if you are afflicted with sciatica. The most important thing to do is consult a doctor before engaging in any of these activities. Knowing what the specific cause of the sciatic pain is will give a physician much-needed information to design an exercise program for you. Many sciatica water exercises center on gaining more support for the back by building strength in the lower back and abdomen. Depending on the specific diagnosis, other exercises such as aerobic exercise and stretching can be added to a regimen.
Walking is an effective exercise for anyone, but pool walking adds the benefit of not putting strain on the feet or legs due to pounding on the ground. The walking should be done in chest-deep water and variety can be added by walking both forward and backward. Walking through water will build up strength as the water resists movement.
This exercise requires little more than the wall of the pool to give the body a good stretch. Hold onto the wall of the pool and lift your legs off the bottom, stretching your body out to look like Superman in flight. This technique stretches out all parts of the back and the joints in your arms and legs.
Knee to Chest
This exercise can build strength in the lower back while also stretching out the muscles. Stand on one, slightly bent, leg and hold on to the side of the pool with one hand. Move the other leg up until it is parallel to the floor of the pool, then bend it in until it reaches your chest. Do five repetitions with each leg.