Can I exercise if I suffer from sciatica?

Sciatica is a pain that can go from the lower back, through the buttock and the back of the leg, to the tip of the big toe, which can sometimes be accompanied by tingling or numbness in the leg. Normally it is an acute and disabling pain that prevents the normal ambulation of the person who suffers it, but it can also be a less acute pain, dull or burning sensation that remains chronically.

The most common cause of sciatica is the herniated disc of the lumbar spine, which occurs in this case at the level of the last lumbar vertebra and the first sacral vertebra L5-S1.

Normally, pharmacological treatment is used to combat pain. Bed rest is not recommended except in the period of acute attack if the pain is very disabling. It is advisable to reduce the activity during the first days and then slowly begin to live a normal life. It is advisable to avoid heavy lifting or twisting your back during the first six weeks after the sciatica attack. The exercise should begin again and smoothly after two-three weeks of the disappearance of pain. It should include exercises to strengthen the abdomen and improve the flexibility of the spine. It is often necessary to perform physiotherapy treatment led by professionals.

Dr. Joseph Perez. Doctor and team manager (- Z Rehab Medical Center)

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