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Is Walking Bad for the Sciatic Nerve?

author image Melissa Sabo
Melissa Sabo is an occupational therapist who started writing professional guidebooks for all Flagship Rehabilitation employees in 2009. Specializing in applied therapy and exercise for non-medical readers, she also coauthored a manual on wheelchair positioning. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy.
Is Walking Bad for the Sciatic Nerve?
Sciatic nerve pain can be alleviated by walking. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

The sciatic nerve can become easily impinged, resulting in debilitating pain and physical limitations. The sciatic nerve runs from the lumbar spine, through the back of the buttocks and down the back of your leg, and it can be impacted by a lower back injury or by inflammation of the piriformis muscle located in your buttocks. Understanding how to reintroduce exercise such as walking into your routine will help.

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Benefits of Walking

Walking can alleviate and reduce your sciatic pain in certain circumstances. Use walking as a gentle exercise to allow your body to rest and heal for several weeks after a sciatic injury if you are used to running or weight training. Take care to walk on level surfaces with little or no incline, at a slow to moderate pace, slowing immediately if you feel any symptoms. Stop if symptoms do not resolve within a minute.

Stretch and Rest

If you are suffering from an acute sciatic nerve injury that is only a few days old, refrain from all exercise and try to maintain normal activity only. Use moist heat for 15 minutes at a time, several times per day, on your buttocks or lower back to reduce your pain. Stretch your sciatic nerve by lying face down on the ground with your affected leg bent up to bring your knee to your chest and your unaffected leg extended behind you. Provide a trigger point release to your buttocks any time you are experiencing sciatic pain by lying on a tennis ball placed underneath the most painful area of your buttocks and trying to relax your buttocks in this position for about five minutes.

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