The sciatic nerve is the longest single nerve in the body. It runs from the spinal cord through the buttocks where it branches off to both legs and ends below each knee. When inflammation or irritation of this nerve occurs, it causes a painful condition known as sciatica. Because the sciatic nerve controls feeling in the legs, this kind of pain can create additional, long-term problems. Sciatica pain occurs in up to 10% of the population, most often affecting patients between the ages of 25 and 45. Pilates for sciatica is one therapy many have used to find pain relief. While it won’t work for everyone, some do find benefits from this practice. Here’s how.
What causes sciatica pain?
Sciatica is any type of pain that stems from the irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. This can be caused by repetitive movements, poor posture, or lifestyle factors.
A slipped or herniated disc can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Chronic lower back pain is linked to this kind of pain. A pinched nerve will also create pain radiating down the leg like sciatica.
A number of different physiological events can trigger sciatica. A fall or injury that affects the spine and presses on the nerve can be one possible cause. However, most of the time a specific injury isn’t involved. In these cases, the irritation or pinching of the nerve due to the body’s natural aging effects lead to sciatica.
The following video gives an overview of what sciatica is.
Symptoms of sciatica pain
The tell-tale symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain in the lower back, buttocks, and down the legs
- A shooting, burning, or throbbing pain
- Tingling and numbness in the legs and feet
Pain will also usually increase when patients are sitting for a long period of time. However, it is important to note that increased pain over time may indicate a problem with the nerve itself.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a doctor or pain specialist who can suggest a variety of treatments to stop or alleviate the pain. Your individual treatment will depend on the severity of your pain and the specific cause. One noninvasive option is pilates for sciatica pain.
How does pilates for sciatica work?
Pilates offers similar flexibility and stress-reducing benefits as yoga. However, because the exercises are done at a relatively quick pace, with a greater emphasis on strength, Pilates offers superior fat-burning and muscle-building capabilities. For tension and pain related to sciatica, these exercises can provide pain relief.
You’ll perform most Pilates exercises seated or reclining, instead of standing. These exercises frequently focus on the core, chiseling your physique as you move through the practice. As an example, a typical Pilates workout might include exercises such as laying on your back while lifting your legs straight into the air for a low-impact abdominal workout. Another exercise involves moving into tabletop position, with hands and feet on the floor, before lifting alternate legs straight for more core work.
While pilates for sciatica can help you find pain relief, always talk to your doctor before trying any new routines. Certain exercises may actually exacerbate or increase your pain. Therefore, it’s important to work closely with your doctor. Also, find a trusted Pilates teacher and talk to them about your condition. They can suggest exercise modifications during the workout as needed. This interview with Brent Anderson, PhD, discusses some of the common