When you get up in the morning, you sense it: the horrific shooting of agony down your leg, sometimes to your feet. Sciatic pain, which may frequently be so severe that a person cannot get off the sofa or out of the mattress, can occur for various causes.
Let’s define sciatica, what causes it, and what treatment methods are available, including walking, which may seem counterintuitive at first but is useful – all in this “Is Walking On A Treadmill Good for Sciatica?” guide.
What is Sciatica? [Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments]
A nerve that originates in the spinal cord and travels through your hips and glutes before terminating in your feet, the sciatic nerve is the longest in the human body.
The irritation of this nerve by damage or compression may induce sensations of numbness, burning, pain in the hips and legs, and other symptoms.
The sciatic nerve may be injured in various ways. According to Harvard Health Publishing, up to 40% of the population would experience discomfort associated with the sciatic nerve at some time in their lives. The following are some of how the sciatic nerve might be inflamed.
- Piriformis Syndrome is a painful condition that affects the piriformis muscle (tightening your piriformis muscle around the sciatic nerve).
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is a condition in which the spinal cord is compressed (a situation where the spinal column in the lower back is narrowed, placing pressure on the sciatic nerve).
- Discs that have herniated (torn cartilage between the spine’s vertebrae that presses on the sciatic nerve).
If you suspect you have sciatic nerve pain, it’s usually quite simple to determine – mainly if the pain travels from your lower back/hip down your buttocks and the back of your leg.
Typically, you’ll notice that the discomfort worsens when you move, and you may feel weak in the afflicted limb. If the inflammation extends to your foot, you may experience tingling or numbness in your toes.
As unpleasant as it may seem, moving is one of the most excellent methods to keep on top of sciatic nerve pain and make it feel better. When you have shooting agony down your leg, this is probably the last thing you want to do.
On the other hand, staying stationary might make it worse, but there are some other things you can do to assist alleviate the discomfort if you don’t feel like going for a stroll. Stretching, ice packs and heating pads are all great go-when to’s you’re not feeling well, and they may all help to alleviate the discomfort associated with an inflamed nerve.
On the other hand, exercise is crucial to reducing sciatic pain – even if it seems to be the reverse of what you should be doing! Sitting may make it worse since you’re placing pressure on the nerve through the glute muscles.
Let’s take a look at how you may start feeling better if you’re suffering from sciatica, and we’ll start with one of the most basic exercises: walking.
Is Walking On a Treadmill Good for Sciatica?
It has never been adequately stated or defined by physicians or health professionals how much more or less valuable it is for someone with sciatica to walk on a treadmill or how less beneficial it is. However, our common sense tells us that it can’t be all that horrible; in fact, walking on a treadmill is advantageous to your health when you have this illness.
Given its status as the longest nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve performs a variety of functions and plays a vital part in the movement of our bodies, among other things. Sometimes numbness and shooting pain in the legs and hips are experienced when that nerve is irritated due to compression.
There are various ways in which the sciatic nerve may be impacted, and there is a reasonable probability that the sciatic nerve will cause pain to about 40% of the population at some time in their lives. The Piriformis muscle, which surrounds the sciatic nerve and may cause significant pain if it contracts around the nerve, can be a source of discomfort.
It is also possible that your spinal column is constricted in the lower back, which is another discomfort source. Even if you have a herniated disc, you will have sciatic pain due to it. Walking on a treadmill may not be the best long-term option, but it might provide immediate relief from pain.
Your Key to Using Treadmill for Sciatica
The key to successfully utilizing a treadmill is to choose a pace and inclination that you are comfortable maintaining without increasing your symptoms, as described above. Initially, these settings may need to be set at a slower rate than your typical running speed. However, when your strength returns and your discomfort diminishes, you should be able to increase the speed and intensity of your workout over time.
Running is one workout that you may want to reconsider before embarking on. The increased impact on the spine caused by running is not advised in most cases due to the possibility of aggravating your condition and resulting symptoms.
Your past fitness level and comfort level with running, on the other hand, might assist you in making your selection. If you can change your running speed or technique to limit joint impact and discomfort, it may be a viable option for you. Finally, never push yourself to do an activity or motion that causes pain.
What Exercises Can I Do with Sciatica?
If you are experiencing sciatic nerve pain, you may be asking what you may do to alleviate it. Do you believe you will need to spend a significant amount of time resting? Wrong. The good news is that, unless your symptoms are severe, moving is one of the most effective strategies to reduce pain and increase your body’s healing capacity.
Starting with mild pain-free stretches for the low back and legs, you should progress to more advanced stretches. As your fitness level increases, you may go to more dynamic workouts such as core strengthening and low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, and riding.
Depending on your fitness objectives and symptoms, determine which specific stretches and workouts are ideal for you. Nevertheless, the primary aim will always be to maintain appropriate mechanics and position when participating in exercise and everyday activities to allow proper healing.
[BONUS SECTION] How to Avoid Sciatica Pain for Long-Term?
When walking on a treadmill, it is recommended to set a pace and a comfortable inclination for you to avoid discomfort. These values should initially be adjusted to be lower than your usual walking speed. Then, when the nerve discomfort subsides, gradually increase the intensity and speed of the exercise.
It is safe to walk on a treadmill when suffering from sciatica. The treadmill may increase the pressure on the inner discs, causing them to expand and protrude from the spine. The result is that walking might increase the pressure on the sciatic nerve roots, resulting in increased discomfort. As a result, walking should not be used as a sciatica-relieving activity.
If you have sciatica, there are several things you may do to prevent making a mistake when running on the treadmill. These will assist you in avoiding the discomfort of your sciatica. These include using your core and adopting a shorter stride, among other things.
Core Muscles Can Support Your Spine and Strengthen it
Sciatica might be relieved by correctly using your abdominal muscles. They do this by reducing pressure on the spinal column. This helps to keep the sciatic nerve safe. Incorrect walking, on the other hand, might raise tension and weariness.
If you do this, it may aggravate your sciatica or produce further back discomfort. To prevent this, when walking on a treadmill such as the Sole Fitness Fitness F85 treadmill, follow the steps outlined below:
- When you’re walking, gently move your stomach towards the center of your frame. To avoid staining your abdominal muscle, avoid tucking your tummy in too much at the same time.
- Maintain a straight course.
- While walking, it is essential to maintain a regular breathing pattern and stay attentive.
Take Shorter Strides to Protec Your Sciatic Nerve
Incorrect walking posture may compress your lumbar discs2 and irritate your sciatic nerve, which can cause pain and discomfort. In general, the first touch of the foot, the length of the stride, and the pace at which one walks must all be considered to prevent sciatica.
Follow these suggestions to ensure that your actions are correct:
Make sure you don’t reach with your toes. Land in the space between your midfoot and heel, then softly roll onto your toes and push off into the next stride to complete the movement. Your stride will naturally shorten due to this form of first foot contact since it is difficult to roll your foot when it is so far away from your torso.
Take it easy. Shorter steps are usually associated with a slower pace. While walking, you should easily carry on a conversation with ease.
During a normal walking gait with proper posture, the stomach and back muscles and the hip-thigh-leg muscles all function in unison to keep the spine from being stressed.
Stretching is Beneficial
Stretching exercises for the lower back and legs will be good to start. We need strong and flexible back and leg muscles. Your stretches should not hurt when you perform them. Perform each stretch three or four times without making any rapid movements or attempting to push it. Here are some stretches to try.
- Knee Rolls
Take caution with this one. Move carefully and stop if you begin to feel uneasy. Lie on your back with your arms outstretched to the side. Raise your knees while keeping your feet level on the floor. With your knees bent, move them to the left and then to the right, being careful not to extend too much.
- Bottom to Heel
Get down on all fours and situate yourself on the floor. Then, press your bottom into your heels relax and extend your arms out. Repeat this exercise three or four times until you feel comfortable. The lower back will benefit significantly from this one, as will your arms and shoulders.
- Knee to Chest
Lie on your mat with your back on the ground. Then, while still laying down, raise your left knee to your chest and grasp your shin with your hands. Then repeat the stretches with your right knee. This assists in stretching and contracting the lower back. The glutes and bottom are also worked.
Take a giant stride forward with the left leg from a standing position, lifting the right heel off the ground and bending both knees. Slowly lower yourself 3 to 4 inches toward the ground from this posture. Then repeat with the second leg, stepping forward with the right leg. Your posture and lower back will benefit from this.
After you’ve completed your exercise, it’s essential to take some time to calm down. In the opposite direction of the heat bath, this will be a 15 to 20-minute cold bath. The time you give your back and muscles will enable them to begin their healing, ensuring that you will be able to repeat the experience a few days later. You need to exercise a few times a week, and you should avoid overdoing it.
We believe we have addressed your question. Walking on a treadmill may help with sciatica. Several exercises might help treat sciatica discomfort. Walking on a treadmill is one of these workouts. A treadmill is an excellent choice for sciatica therapy and exercise. However, before exercising with sciatica, you must first check with your doctor.
The sciatic nerve is the human body’s longest and most widespread nerve. It begins in your lower back and progresses through your buttocks to your feet. Sciatica is an inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Symptoms of this disorder include pain radiating from one side of the buttock—usually only one side—down into a leg, tingling sensations, numbing sensation and different feelings in the foot/bottom of their big toe, burning sensation or a pins-and-needles feeling, and difficulty sitting for long periods without moving around commonly since they feel uneasy when they do not move around frequently (e.g., every 5 minutes).
John is a Certified Personal Trainer – Exercise Fitness Specialist who loves to share his experience to assist you reach your fitness goals.