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What is sciatica and why does it occur?

Sciatica is a medical term for pain related to the sciaticnerve, which is the longest nerve in the body. This pain occurs in the area fromthe spinal cord to the buttock and hip area and down one or both legs. Since painis always only a symptom of some disorder, sciatica is not considered adisorder either, but it usually indicates some problem that involves the nervein question. Even though in the majority of cases the pain does not requireany treatment, it is also possible that it will cause some permanent damage tothe nerve, which may further result in the loss of feeling or movement of theaffected leg, or even loss of control over the bladder or bowels.

Are there any exercises that may relieve sciatica pain?

There certainly are exercises that may relieve sciaticapain, particularly if the cause of this pain is herniated disc. It is usuallynecessary to wait until the acute pain improves, but after that, a rehabilitationprogram is suggested to the patient in order to prevent recurrent injuries,correct the posture, strengthen the muscles that support the back and improvethe flexibility of particular muscles, which can be done with the help ofstretching exercises.

Hamstring stretching exercises are focused on thehamstrings, the muscles in the back of the thigh that help in bending the knee,but they help in strengthening the abdominal muscles, which also relieves thesciatica pain. Everyone who experiences this pain regardless of its cause cando these exercises.

However, since the causes of sciatica pain may vary,for each particular cause there is a specific set of exercises, which is why itis important to determine the underlying cause first. Once the rehabilitatingprogram begins, it is very important to do the exercises correctly, since theyare practically ineffective if they are not done in a proper way. What’s more,when done inadequately, they may even worsen the pain, which is why it isimportant to do them under the supervision of a physical therapist orphysiatrist. Besides specific exercises, walking can also help a lot with thispain, and the distance should be increased gradually, up to three miles, notmore. Even after the pain is gone, the patients with this problemsshould keep taking care about their back, and besides continuing with exercising, they should also avoid sitting orstanding for a long time.

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