Pilates for Sciatica


Sciatica is one of the most common, yet misunderstood, types of pain. As many as 40% of people will get it during their life, and it becomes more frequent as you age. Sciatica tends to get lumped in with regular back pain, but it is different. The pain originates with the sciatic nerves and often goes away by itself within a few hours or days. However, some attacks can come and go for several weeks or even months. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to prevent sciatica, as well as relieve the pain.

Exercise is a key way to prevent or help relieve sciatica. But not all exercise is created equal and has to be done in the proper order when sciatica is present.

  • Aerobic exercise: walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, and other activities that increase your heart rate can cause more pain if you already have sciatica.
  • Strength training: exercises using free weights or weight machines, or isometric exercises, which involve contracting muscles without obvious movement can exacerbate the nerve pathway in the joint making sciatica worse.

But…

  • Flexibility training such as Pilates increases both flexibility and strength without hurting the joints and excels at…
  • Core Strength. Your core is not just your abdominal muscles, even though they are key contributors to the stability of your spine. Muscles in the back, sides, pelvis, and buttocks also are part of your core. Strengthening all of these muscles helps to support your spine.
  • Good posture. Mom was right—slouching isn’t good for you. But you don’t have to walk around the room with a book on your head to practice good posture. Follow these tips:
  • Pay attention to your body’s position when you’re standing or sitting.
  • To prevent slouching, pull your shoulders down and back. Imagine your shoulder blades touching.
  • If you work at a computer, take frequent breaks. Position your monitor so you can see it without bending your head down or tilting it back.


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