Sciatic Exercise | How Warm Water Gets You Going Again

By Christina Meier

Sciatic Exercise didn't seem to make a lot of sense to me in the beginning. But when you think about it, even though bed rest is the logical first line treatment of an acute sciatica flare up, it will probably do you more harm than good when prolonged (more than a couple of days). The best thing for you is to get going with your normal routines as soon as possible (while you'll avoid the kinds of movements that got you into trouble). When your first pain has subsided some you should seriously work towards different kinds of sciatic exercises, in accordance with the underlying cause of your sciatica. What may greatly alleviate one condition may worsen another. That's one of the reasons you should always consult a back specialist before setting out on your new exercise routine, to see when and with what frequency you should start exercising and which exercises would actually be good for you.

Having said that, I'd like to focus on a particular type of sciatic exercises, which will probably be one of the most beneficial types of treatments for your sciatica pain: warm water exercises. Even though at the beginning of a sciatica flare up it is better to treat with cold rather than heat, once the healing process is underway warm water is very beneficial in a number of ways.

Taking a warm bath helps you to relax, it increases circulation and helps to loose tightened muscles; it also helps speeding up the healing process. It returns mobility to you, since the warmth makes the muscles more pliable. It is a good idea to take a warm bath for a while before starting to exercise (don't go too long, since your body might overheat).

Now, being nicely relaxed and all, you could try some water exercises. They are much easier to do than regular exercises, since being in the water will take most of the weight and pressure off your back, joints, ligaments, disks and muscles; it also lowers the pain associated with some of the exercises, especially in the beginning, when there is still some stiffness, and the fear of possible pain, which in itself can make you tense up.

Water density will make your muscles work harder than usual, but will take weight and pressure off the rest of your body. A good starting exercise to help reduce pain and muscle spasms could even be just walking or marching in the water.

Warm water exercises and water exercises overall are a great starting point for exercises altogether after an acute sciatica flare up and other causes of back pain. Warm water exercises are some of the most beneficial exercises since you get both the reduction of inflammation due to increased circulation and the strengthening of the muscles that you will need to keep your back and sciatica nerve in good health.

After water exercises you will find a wide array of exercises available to you, that you can work towards bit by bit, but before you start to exercise altogether (now that you have talked to your back specialist and learned which exercises you can do), always start up with warming up for at least 5 minutes. That could be a short walk, or even walking in place. Even using an exercise bike will do the job.

At first you probably should only be doing gentle back stretching exercises and then gradually extend into back and abdomen strength building exercises. Also add some low impact aerobics to your routine at some point. If you find a good balance of all these exercises and you will use a wide variety of muscle groups, which in turn will prevent future flare ups.

So in short: Sciatica and exercises go together, if you want to see long term relief from your painful sciatica. Always consult a back specialist before starting exercises or self-treat your symptoms and causes, so you know for sure what you can, should and shouldn't do. - 32188

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