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Will a Treadmill Help Sciatica?

As a leader in the treadmill market, we often get asked all sorts of questions regarding various body ailments and how they might be affected by using a treadmill. The focus of this article is will treadmill help sciatica. We’ll go over the definition of sciatica, how walking on a treadmill can help and what you can do to mitigate the effects of sciatic conditions.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a painful condition that affects the leg starting at the lower back. The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, through your butt muscles and down the back of your legs. Sciatica usually only affects a single leg at a time while the pain could run down the front, back or side of the leg. There may also be numbness or weakness of the ankle, foot or leg or lower back pain as well. There are many possible causes of sciatica, but most cases are due to herniation of a spinal disc. Because medication doesn’t get to the root cause of the problem, exercising and staying active is most often recommended. 

Exercise and Sciatica

Some doctors feel that exercise can reduce inflammation caused by sciatica whereas others believe that excessive exercise can just increase the problem. Because exercise can help release endorphins, it’s thought that these natural pain killers are better than prescribed medication. However, proper form is necessary when it comes to exercising without exacerbating the condition. Adjusting your stride and utilizing your core when walking can help play a role in how exercise helps manage your pain.

Utilizing Core Muscles

By keeping your stomach muscles tight when walking you can relieve pressure from your sciatic nerve and lower spine. Your posture will play a role in this process as well. By keeping your back straight and your stomach tucked in while you walk, you’ll reduce the chances of irritating the sciatic nerve or spinal column. Keep your head up and try not to lean back while taking your steps. Avoid using the incline function on your treadmill. The padded surface of the treadmill belt is an ideal surface for walking while experiencing pain from sciatica.

Smaller Steps

If you’re using a treadmill as part of your exercise program you should employ proper form for the best results. You should avoid high impact exercise such as jogging and stick to walking or other low impact activities. When walking you should try and shorten your stride. Taking longer steps puts more stress on the backs of your legs and your spine. By taking smaller steps you can protect your back and reduce the chances of irritating your sciatic nerve. A treadmill can help with this process by reducing the speed at which you normally walk.

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