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Resources, discussions and information produced by Charlotte Lattin - Level 5 Sports, Remedial and Holistic Massage and Soft Tissue Therapist, Movement Coach, Psychologist, Runner, Swimmer, Yoga practitioner, Lover of Outdoors, Mum to 4 children, Owner of a crazy dog (and a couple of other dogs) and fascinated by all things to do with how our bodies and minds work...
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Lower back pain and sciatica can be excruciating and can be caused by various different factors - poor posture, tight muscles, alignment issues or a weak core.
It can be tempting to stay in bed as movement can be painful but this is not going to help in the long term. So what is?
Massage, postural assessment and exercises designed to help the body to move as it is meant to are key to recovery but there is also a lot that you can do to help yourself.
Check out the advice from the NHS below and work on an exercise routine based on some of these stretches. It would also be useful to get some advice from a professional (GP, massage therapist etc.) to find out whether these are suitable for you as an individual and what else you can do for your specific circumstances.
It can sometimes be a simple cause or often it is a more complicated process to find out what is going on and how best to get you back to fully mobile but it is possible (and no need to just take loads of medication for evermore - though this can be helpful in acute phases).
Exercises for sciatica
This exercise routine is designed to help relieve sciatica – a pain caused by the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, all the way down both legs, ending at your feet.These stretches help to mobilise the sciatic nerve and improve lower back flexibility.
When starting out, go gently to get used to the movements and work out how far you can go into each position without feeling pain.
Aim to do this routine at least once a day if the pain allows. You can complement this routine with walking, cycling and water-based activities.
You're advised to seek medical advice before starting these exercises for sciatica, and stop immediately if you feel any pain.
Knee to chest stretch
Improves the flexibility of your lower back
Start position: Lie on your back on a mat or the carpet. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.
Action: Bend one knee up towards your chest and grasp your knee with both hands. Slowly increase this stretch as comfort allows. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds with controlled deep breaths.
Repeat three times, alternating legs.
Sciatic mobilising stretch
Mobilises the sciatic nerve and hamstrings
Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees and keep your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.
Action: Bend one knee up towards your chest and grasp your hamstring with both hands. Slowly straighten the knee while bringing your foot towards you. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, taking deep breaths. Bend the knee and return to the starting position.
Repeat two or three times, alternating legs.
Stretches and mobilises the spine backwards
Start position: Lie on your stomach and prop yourself on your elbows, lengthening your spine. Keep your shoulders back and neck long.
Action: Keeping your neck long, arch your back up by pushing down on your hands. You should feel a gentle stretch in the stomach muscles as you arch up. Breathe and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position.
Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Stretches and lengthens the hamstring muscles
Start position: Stand upright and raise one leg on to a stable object, such as a step. Keep that leg straight and your toes pointing straight up.
Action: Lean forward while keeping your back straight. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds while taking deep breaths.
Repeat two to three times with each leg.
Stretches and lengthens the piriformis muscle
Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your left leg and rest your right foot on your left thigh.
Action: Grasp your left thigh and pull it towards you. Keep your tailbone on the floor throughout and your hips straight. You should feel the stretch in the right buttock. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds while taking deep breaths.
Repeat two to three times.
For more advice and a free consultation drop me a line or call me on 07725 334604.