Proper exercises and stretches have been proven to help alleviate pain and discomfort for both back pain and sciatica sufferers. Movement of the joints and muscles keeps the back muscles and spinal structures healthy and strong, thus allowing nutrients and fluids within the discs to keep them healthy and alleviate any pressure on along the spine. Here are a few stretches we recommend at Atlantis Chiropractic:
Piriformis Figure 4 Stretch – 3 reps per leg for 30 seconds’
This stretch help to correct hip imbalances and restore function. It also helps to increase flexibility, improve joint range of motion and improves circulation.
Start by lying on your back. Cross one leg over the other, placing ankle on the opposite thigh above the knee.
Grasp uncrossed leg under thigh and gently pull towards chest. A stretch in the hip of the crossed leg should be felt. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat. Alternate sides.
Cat/Camel – 3 sets of 10 reps, 30-second rest in between sets
This stretch helps to increase low back strength and muscular endurance, improve stability, functional strength as well as injury prevention.
Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Hips should be above knees and shoulders above hands. Attain a straight spine position.
Round your back upward, stretching mid-back between your shoulder blades. Relax and let your stomach fall downward as you arch your back. Hold each position for 3-5 seconds and repeat.
Child Pose Stretch- 3 reps for 30 seconds’ each
In addition to correcting low back imbalances and restoring function, the child pose also increasese flexibility, improves joint range of motion and circulation.
To start, begin with hands and knees on the floor. Reach out directly in front of you extending arms, palms should be flat on the floor.
Slowly sit hips back toward the floor dropping your head and chest downward as arms extend even further. Hold for about 20-30 seconds and then repeat.
Bird Dog- 3 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds’ rest in between
The purpose of bird dog is to increase core strength and muscular endurance, thus improving stability and functional strength.
Start off on your hands and knees with your head and back in a straight position. Hands should be under your shoulders, hips directly above knees.
Activate core muscles. Raise one arm to should level as opposite leg simultaneously lifts off the floor, extending to hip height. Pause momentarily. Return to start position and alternate sides. Maintain a straight spine position, not allowing your hips to twist or rotate. Do not hyper- extend your lower back when extending leg. Repeat.
Modified Side Plank- 3 sets with 30 second holds on each side with 30 second rest in between
The modified side plank is also great for increasing core strength. A strong core and back helps to support the spinal structure which will alleviate back pain and sciatica pain.
Begin on your side with knees bent. Place support forearm directly under shoulder.
Activate core muscles. Lift hips off the floors and attain a straight, rigid position from thighs through your upper body. Once in this position, there should be no movement. Maintain core contraction. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat. Perform on opposite side.