These exercises come from a physical therapist by the name of Robin McKenzie and are known as the McKenzie Method.
These exercises are not only good for preventing sciatica but can also be very beneficial in relieving the pain during time when you are suffering from sciatica.
These exercises can be used for sciatica treatment and are associated with extension of the spine or backward bending.
What they really do is help you test for, and then exercise in, positions and stretches that relieve the pain in the legs and feet and centralize it in the lower back or produce "centralization of symptoms.
" All this means is that the symptoms are centralized in the butt or lower back, if you have lower back pain that is running down the leg (sciatica) then centralization would be where the pain lessens or leaves the leg or legs, even though the pain in the butt and lower back stays the same or worsens.
In time, if you can centralize the pain in the butt and lower back, the pain in the butt and lower back will also start to see improvement.
McKenzie exercises most often involve extension of the spine but, they can also involve flexion or forward bending, side bending, and rotation, it all depends on what positions centralize or reduces the pain.
When preforming these exercises, as a sciatica treatment, the thing to remember is that you are looking for positions that reduce the pain furthest away from the spine and centralize it in the lower back.
Any positions you try that worsens the pain furthest from the spine should be avoided.
You will need to keep testing different positions until you find the ones that do the best job of centralizing the pain.
When testing positions you will need to stay in the position for thirty seconds to a minute to see if they are working then, repeat doing them throughout the day.
Following are the most common helpful exercises for sciatica treatment: 1.
Lie on the floor or another firm surface on your stomach propping up your upper body with your elbows while keeping your hips or pelvis down on the floor.
Hold this position for thirty seconds to a minute or more.
Try bending your upper body to the left, then the right, to see which position centralizes the pain the best.
This can be done throughout the day during times of sciatica flare ups.
This next one is sometimes called "The Cat Stretch" and is an alternate to the exercise above.
Get on your hands and knees and then slowly relax your back and stomach muscles so that your stomach hangs down and the lower back curves downward.
Keep your head up and look forward, hold this position for thirty seconds to a minute and again, this can be done throughout the day during sciatica flare ups.
The next two exercises for sciatica treatment will require an exercise ball, if you don't have one, you may be able to use several pillows under the low back to achieve extension.
Lie on the exercise ball or pillows on your back allowing your back to curve backwards (if you have difficulty balancing the ball have someone help you hold the ball) and maintain this position for several minutes, make sure you raise your head periodically to avoid getting light headed.
As I said earlier, McKenzie exercises are normally associated with spinal extension or backwards bending but, they also include flexion or forward bending to centralize the pain of the sciatic nerve.
Forward stretching can be done on an exercise ball or by lying on a pile of pillows or even the arm of a sofa.
Since forward bending can worsen the problems with the discs in the lower back, you should only use this position for short periods of time, one minute or less unless advised otherwise by a doctor or qualified therapist.