This pain is referred to as "sciatica." Sciatica can be caused by a bulging disc, arthritis of the spine, a tight piriformis muscle in your butt and even by trigger points in your muscles. Depending on the cause and the severity, you could experience numbness, tingling or weakness in the leg.
Strengthening the muscles of the lower back helps to reduce the symptoms of lower back and leg pain. While we may prefer bed rest to exercise when in pain, active sciatica exercise is a great mechanism for healing sciatic pain. Doctors may advise rest for just a day or two after a bout with sciatica, but inactivity only makes it worse. This is because the lack of movement causes the lower back muscles and spine to become even more cramped and unable to fully support the back, leading to further back injury and strain - which means more lower back and body pain. It's a vicious cycle.
Exercising keeps the fluids between the discs healthy and well lubricated and strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and back. Exercises for sciatica relief are varied, depending on the cause of the pain and the specific muscles involved. Engaging in regular exercise helps to keep these muscles flexible and strong. This helps to speed up the recovery process as well as preventing further recurrence.
Our FAVORITE tool for managing sciatica is massage therapy. Massage helps alleviate sciatic nerve pain in two ways:
- Tight lower back muscles can place stress on your nerve roots. Massage therapy loosens these muscles and helps to prevent pinching or irritation.
- A massage encourages the release of pain-fighting endorphins. This can provide temporary relief from symptoms like the throbbing pain in your foot, the burning sensation in your leg or the pain in your butt.