Do Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain Really Work?


Quick Answer

Exercises may relieve sciatic nerve pain, but they are most effective when performed under the guidance of a physical therapist, says WebMD. A full analysis must be conducted by a doctor to determine the cause of the sciatic nerve pain, and the physical therapist must have experience in treating sciatica.

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Full Answer

Most sciatic nerve pain is caused by compression on the nerve from a herniated disc or bone spur that usually resolves itself in a few weeks through targeted exercises, according to Mayo Clinic. More serious cases of sciatica may require surgery.

A doctor may recommend medications or steroid injections if the pain is severe, says Mayo Clinic. Such medications include anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. As an alternative to these medications, the doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection.

Certain risk factors can be changed or managed to reduce the recurrence of sciatica, claims Mayo Clinic. They include obesity, strenuous occupations, sitting for long periods of time and diabetes. Excess weight, jobs that require lifting or twisting the back continuously and prolonged sitting put stress on the spine that may lead to sciatic nerve damage. Complications with diabetes are known to cause nerve damage, one of them being the sciatic nerve.

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