You’re bending wrong.
Why this matters:
A common problem that I see in clients with sciatica pain is that their pain gets really bad when bending forward. During our virtual sessions, I notice two things: they round at the back or the are so scared of bending that they “arch” their back excessively. If you have a herniated disc, forward bending at the spine can get more irritated. If you have spinal stenosis and arthritis, bending forward should actually relieve the pain; however, with stenosis and arthritis, you’re probably over arching the back, resulting in more pain. The key to forward bending success is using the hips, for now. Our spines were designed to bend and twist in small quantities. So when you’re in an active state of pain, we are looking at making those hips work more.
Action steps:Hinge at the hips. This video explains it in more detail. The key is not moving or preventing moving at the spine… But we need to allow the hips to move the way that they should. This means your hamstrings and glutes will do the job of helping you bend forward. For now, let’s minimize rounding at the spine if it causes you pain. You’ll revist forward bending in a few days after it doesn’t hurt anymore.