Sports Therapy and Pilates

How Can Sports Therapy Help Sciatica?

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve which runs from your hips to your feet. It can cause stabbing, burning or shooting pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your buttocks, backs of legs and feet and toes. Typically symptoms are only on one side of the body. About 90% of sciatica is due to spinal disc herniation pressing on an area of the lumbar or sacral nerve roots, therefore causing the pattern of pain.

Diagnosing Sciatica:

In clinic, a straight leg raise is often used for sciatica diagnosis. The test is positive if, when the leg is raised whilst lying on your back, pain shoots below the knee.

Treating Sciatica?

The initial treatment  of sciatica involves pain medication to reduce pain levels. The general consensus is that you carry on with your normal activities as much as possible. Once pain levels are under control you can start with exercise therapy which will strengthen weak muscles and mobilise tight joints .

Exercise Therapy and Sciatica:

Exercise therapy can be used to strengthen associated weakness and mobilise joints. Some initial exercises to try can include:

  • Knee to Chest Stretch.
  • Standing Hamstring Stretch.
  • Back Extensions.
  • Glute Stretches.
  • Hip Twists.

Sports Massage and Sciatica:

Sports massage can help to relieve the mechanical cause of your pain by reducing any muscular tension or spasms. It can help to stretch muscles without irritating the nerves. Sports massage to your lower back, hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps can reduce pain and improve flexibility, releases feel good endorphins and provide relief from your symptoms.

A combination of Sports Therapy treatments can help to alleviate your sciatica symptoms. It’s good to start with gentle stretches to the hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes, and lumbar spine mobility. A strengthening programme for the core muscles and glutes can begin once pain levels are reduced. With sports massage to reduce tension through the lower back and relieving pressure on the nerves, your sciatic symptoms should start to subside and feel more manageable.

So, don’t wait in pain, book an appointment today. Email Real Motion on


Written by Rhea Malkin BSc (Hons) Sports Therapist MSST and STOTT/APPI Pilates Instructor.

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