Note: This blog is not intended to act as medical advice. If you have concerns or suffer from regular bouts of sciatica, speak to your GP in the first instance.
Sciatica can be a bit of a nightmare! But if affects a lot of us and I want to tell you how Pilates can help to alleviate symptoms and keep sciatica at bay.
Sciatica refers to where the sciatic nerve (which runs from your lower back) is irritated or compressed, causing pain, tingling or numbness. Where you feel the pain might be slightly different for everyone, but likely to be in your bottom, back of the leg or you foot / toes. Normally, sciatica gets better within 4-6 weeks but it can go on for longer and there are things you can do to help, which includes gentle exercise.
A bout of sciatica can affect your daily life, especially if you find it difficult to walk / put weight on the affected side. As noted above, if you can keep moving as much as you can then this will be beneficial.
We'll come back to exercise in more detail a moment, but there are other things you can do to alleviate pain and keep the symptoms to a minimum:
Avoid sitting down for too long - it's not harmful but you'll be more comfortable if you get up and walk around at regular intervals
Use heat packs on the affected area
Try some gentle stretches
You may wish to see a physio or massage therapist
Pilates and Sciatica
Keeping your body moving will help to alleviate the symptoms and the pain from sciatica, but you do need to keep it gentle to start with until those symptoms have subsided...say hello to Pilates! This is the perfect type of exercise to be doing for sciatica and general lower back pain.
Stretch and strengthen your lower back with gentle movements and get back to doing all the things you enjoy. Once the initial pain / symptoms have subsided, you can use Pilates to prevent sciatica from returning.
Check out our video below which gives you some stretches specifically for sciatica. Note that the video has been sped up and you should not move at this speed! Take your time and use these stretches as a guide.
If you suffer from sciatica, you are likely to benefit from a regular Pilates class - you can find all the details about our classes on our website!
I hope these stretches help - let me know how you get on in the comments.
See you on the mats.