Sciatica is caused by compression in the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that starts outside the base of your spine around your pelvis and runs from your glute to the back of your leg. Pain with the hips can occur anywhere along this path or spread throughout.
“People with acute sciatica may experience pain, throbbing, throbbing in those areas,” says Abby Halpin, DPT, PT, clinical physician and owner of Strong Performance and Physical Therapy. They may have altered sensations such as numbness or tingling, explains Dr. Halpin. “Because the sciatic nerve contains motor information, the leg can feel heavy, weak, heavy to move,” he says. “Symptoms can only last a short time or be constant and long-lasting.”
What causes sciatica?
Dr. Halpin says hip dysplasia can happen to anyone, but it’s more common in people between 30-50 years of age. Symptoms often come on gradually. “It can happen when someone stays in a position that compresses the nerve tissue for a long time, such as sitting, standing, working in awkward positions, or moving repetitively for long periods of the day, especially bending or twisting,” he explains. Dr. Halpin.
“Imagine falling asleep on your arm and waking up with tingling or numbness,” he says. It is also a form of nerve compression, although very temporary, similar to how sciatica starts. However, in the case of sciatica, one night is not enough to sleep in an odd position – usually there are several weeks or months in these compressive positions that are problematic for sciatica sufferers.
Dr. Halpin says that reduced physical activity is often at the root of acute or sudden sciatica because people who are less active may be less flexible with movements that compress the spine or leg. This in turn can trigger pain and inflammation of the sciatic nerve. “It’s like a classic order that’s very mobile in normal life but then leans in to lift the heavy bed one day,” he says. “But the lower back joints and the soft tissues around the nerves are not used to that kind of weight and movement and will send a signal to the brain that something dangerous is going to happen.” The resulting pain can get you out of a dangerous situation but into permanent sciatica until recovery is made.
How strength training can relieve sciatica symptoms
Dr. Halpin says strength training is the best way to build resilience against the types of stress and compression that would otherwise lead to sciatica. “By frequently exercising with heavy loads, the muscles are more prepared to withstand the compressive loads and the sciatic nerve does not have to bear too much pressure,” he says.
Strength training also allows people to move, sit and stand in various positions, Dr. Halpin adds. “People can avoid the wide range of motion by using the same motions or positions all the time, which means they’re burning the sciatic nerve in the same way less time,” he explains. “Resilience and variety are vital to staying healthy.”
7 strength exercises for hip pain
1. 90-90 hip life
This exercise builds strength in the glutes, hamstrings and core. Begin lying on your back on the floor with your feet on the floor of a chair or a flat wall. Your hips and knees are bent at 90 degrees (hence the name), with your shins parallel to the floor, arms extended by your sides, palms down on the floor. From here, without physically moving your feet, push your heels to wake up the back side of your feet. Then you will tie your tail and lift your finger or two from the floor, without lifting your lower back, before lowering it down. You should feel the back of your thighs (the hamstrings) working. Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.
This is a basic exercise that works the entire posterior chain (of your body). It also stretches the hamstrings and the hamstrings by lengthening the hamstrings. Start by standing holding a weight or object, such as a jug of laundry detergent, with both hands in front of your body with your arms straight. Keep your knees bent while you hinge your hips, keeping your back flat, but allowing your abdominals to bend at a 45-degree angle as the weight of your front shin slides toward the floor. Pressing the heels, press the throats at the top. Complete three total 8–10 reps
Rockbacks are the best exercises for sciatic and low back dysfunction because they increase the mind-body connection in your core muscles and build strength in the high abdominal and low back muscles. These muscles can support the spine and nerves. He started down on his hands and knees. Keep your arms straight and bring your hips to your hips while keeping your back flat. Slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete three 8-10 reps.
4. decreases in diameter
This is a good hamstring strength exercise because it strengthens the entire core while simultaneously moving the spine. Start standing with your feet about hip-width apart and your knees gently bent. Hold a weight or household object such as a bucket of water with both hands. Stretch diagonally to your right and touch your trunk and rotate your left leg (heel high) to the side. Reverse to swing the weight down (with control) on the outside of your opposite hip to sweep a large, diagonal movement across your body. That’s one rep. Complete three 8-10 reps per side.
5. trireme cups
Dr. Halpin says that strengthening exercises in this way can help your body to be flexible and able to handle daily movement functions during functional activities. Start standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Clasp your hands in front of your chest. (Optional: hold the dumb top vertically in both hands.) Bend your knees and sit your hips back and toward your feet. Go as far as you can while keeping your feet on the ground. Aim for the elbow or inside the knees. Press through your heels to support all the way back. That’s one rep. Complete three 8-10 reps.
This is a good whole body strengthening exercise. It also builds core strength and lower back strength. Dr. Halpin says you can make this exercise more difficult by holding a small or heavy object. Start by standing on your feet with your hips slightly wider, elbows bent, and your fists raised by your shoulders. Recline to a comfortable depth while keeping your footprints on the ground. Stand back, stretching your arms above your head as you do so. Bring your hands to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete three 8-10 reps.
7. Round the floor
This sciatic exercise is great because it strengthens your core while not putting as much work on your lower back. Get down on your hands and knees. Exhale and round your back a bit while feeling your abdominals fight. Pull each foot back into the plank while keeping your hips low and back rounded. Hold the position for 4-5 breaths, focusing on exhaling slowly and fully with each breath. Repeat 3-4 times.
How long does it typically take for sciatica pain to go away?
Dr. Halpin says many people who have sciatica symptoms often worry that they will have sciatica forever, but recovery is definitely possible. “It can take up to a year for the symptoms to fully resolve, but it doesn’t mean that the intense symptoms will stay that long,” he says. “The most long-lasting symptoms are usually small areas of numbness in the leg or foot. An evaluation by a physical therapist is best to figure out how and why the symptoms started, as well as plan changes that will reduce pain and weakness.
Remember, emotion is medicine. Staying active can help prevent nerve compression, which often causes this type of pain, and if we’re already experiencing it, strength training exercises can help relieve sciatica symptoms.