Sciatica can seem like a relentless pain with no solution—but there IS a way to get relief beyond painkillers! With a small daily commitment to these 7 simple sciatica exercises for seniors, over time, you’ll have strengthened the muscles that keep your spine where it’s supposed to be and off your sciatic nerve—making that pain disappear.
What is sciatica?
Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, down through your hips, butt & legs. Sciatica is the pain that you feel in any of these areas due to your sciatic nerve being pinched or compressed. Sciatica can feel like pain, weakness, numbness or tingling. It can be a mild ache to a sharp, burning pain or feel like an electric shock—which commonly happens when sneezing or coughing. Typically, it only affects one side of the body.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica can be caused a few things, including:
- A herniated disc
- Lumbar stenosis
- Degenerative disk disease
- Bulged disc due to loss of density
Essentially, sciatica is caused by anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
9 signs you might have sciatica as a senior:
- Numbness or weakness in your low back, butt, legs or feet
- Pain or numbness deep in your butt or hip
- Shooting pain down one or both of your legs
- The feeling of “pins and needles” in your legs, toes or feet
- Low back pain
- The pain gets worse with movement
- The pain is limited to one side of your body
- The pain is worse when sitting or standing
- Coughing or sneezing causes jolts of pain
7 Sciatica Exercises For Seniors To Get Long Term Relief
The following exercises, when done daily, will train your full midsection to keep your spine in alignment and take pressure off your sciatic nerve. By strengthening your pelvis, hips & core you’ll get long term relief—but remember, like any type of exercise, it’s important to stick with it.
1. Dead Bug
- Lay flat on your back, with hands straight up above you, your legs up & bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Lower one arm down to the floor behind your head then raise back up.
- Do this 10 times.
- Take a short break then do 10 reps with your other arm.
2. Side Plank
If it’s easy to hold for 10 seconds, you can increase the time to make it more challenging.
- Lay on your side with your knees bent
- Press the hand of your top arm into the ground in front of you.
- Lift your thighs off of the ground by flexing your pelvis and abs (make sure not to create a bend in your body)
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Switch sides & hold for 10 seconds.
3. Bird dog
- Go onto your hands & knees.
- Keeping your back straight, flex your core & lift 1 arm straight out in front of you.
- Bring your arm back in and touch your opposite hip.
- Repeat for 10 repetitions per side.
4. Cat Cow
This works on the mobility of your low back so that all the bones are moving properly.
- From your hands and knees, press your hands into the ground to keep your shoulders from sagging & keep your chest up.
- Push your back up towards the ceiling as you tuck your pelvis (like a cat hissing).
- Rotate your pelvis & low back as you bring your belly button down towards the floor (like the belly of a cow).
- Do 10 repetitions.
5. Lateral Cat Cow
Same as above, but you’ll be moving side to side instead of up & down.
- From your hands and knees, keep your back straight in a neutral position.
- Squeeze to one side, as if you’re trying to pinch something between your rib cage & pelvis.
- Release the squeeze on this side by moving laterally to squeeze on the other side.
- Do this full movement for 10 repetitions.
6. Self-Myofascial Release Glute Roll
This will feel uncomfortable to start, but after doing it every day for a couple weeks that discomfort will disappear and it will feel soothing. This plays an important part in bringing your body back into alignment by releasing the tension that pulls it out of alignment.
- Sit on the foam roller with your legs out in front of you.
- Prop one knee out to the side; bend the other leg so your foot is planted on the ground.
- Lean onto the opposite hand with 1 hip on the foam roller.
- Use your hand and foot to roll you front to back.
- Roll for 30 seconds.
- Switch sides and roll for 30 more seconds.
7. Glute Stretch
- Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you.
- Bend one knee and pull it over your other leg, pulling your knee towards the opposite hip. (If this is too hard, you don’t have to put your leg over the other leg—you can keep it on the same side and simple pull the knee with your arms)
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side for 30 seconds.
By doing these 7 sciatica exercises for seniors every day you’ll release the tightness that’s pulling body parts out of alignment while strengthening the areas that keep your spine where it should be (and off that sciatic nerve!)
If you want to make even more meaningful progress, you can get the full 5 day “Sciatica Relief” program by Better5—just tap the link below!