5 Exercises Sciatica Patients Must Avoid

Sciatica is normally associated with pain, weakness, numbness or tingling that originates in the lower back and radiates down through the buttocks and back of the leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest and the largest nerve in our body. When one of the five nerve ends of the sciatic nerve gets irritated or compressed due to the spinal disk [Comment: Is spinal disk a condition? I think you meant to have some condition here, like spinal stenosis?] or herniated disk, this condition is seen.

Patients suffering from this condition should make a few adjustments in life, one of which includes regular strengthening exercise of the back and the core muscles. However, not all strengthening exercises are good for sciatica patients.  

This article lists five exercises that must be avoided to prevent further damage and be on the way to recovery.

1. Crunches and sit-ups

One of the main aims of strengthening exercises for upper body is to develop the core and back muscles so that they can support the spine. Conventional methods of strengthening these muscles include crunches and sit-ups. These exercises, however, place a great deal of pressure on the lower back, especially for sciatica patients, thus further worsening their condition instead of making it better.

2. High Intensity Exercises

Performing high intensity exercises like running, or playing intense sports such as football or basketball can aggravate the already sensitive spinal region. Although most of the shock from the impact of these exercises are absorbed by the foot and the knee, some shock still radiates to the lower back. So one should refrain from doing these kind of exercises.

3. Leg Raises and Curls

Leg raise exercise

Leg raises in general place stress on the lower back. When a person suffering from sciatica does leg raises, it aggravates the condition even more.  Exercises that make use of the back as a fulcrum should be immediately stopped; it places excessive amount of pressure on the back and spine, and may worsen the inflammation and the condition significantly.

4. Body Squats with Weight

Body squat with weight

When squats is done with weights as strengthening exercises, the already bulging or herniated disk compresses the nerve even more. As a result, one experiences sharp rise in pain. This may even aggravate the condition to the stage that it affects his/her daily life. Although squats in moderation might be good to some, it is advisable to limit oneself to bodyweight squats. 

5. Improperly performed exercises

Improperly performed exercise

There is no other exercise that is as damaging as an improperly executed exercise. Even exercises that are supposed to help alleviate back pain can backfire when performed incorrectly. So exercises must be performed correctly in order to reap its benefit.