“Motion is lotion” (source: most medical professionals).
This is a highly underrated and underutilized quote that everyone should know. I say that it is highly underrated because most of the time when an injury occurs the first thing that people think is to “rest and ice”. In some rare cases, bed rest is a positive thing (such as complications with pregnancy and after some surgeries), however, even intense pain can benefit from a little movement; some may even say exercise is a great way to help with recovery and reduce pain.
When experiencing sciatica pain, doing exercise might seem like a huge undertaking and in some cases may even cause a little bit of fear. This is a totally legitimate thought process. The great news is that if implemented correctly, exercise can actually facilitate healing, reduce the pain intensity, and get you closer to feeling better.
But what exercise is best? There are so many things out there and it can be overwhelming to figure out the right exercise to do. One of the most powerful exercises that is also easier on the joints is walking. I know, this sounds like a super simple activity, but hear me out.
Before you got hurt, how much walking did you do on a daily basis? You can actually check out your total steps on your iPhone in this article, and for android users, this can help. If you are logging in less than 10k steps per day, then you were probably not moving around as much as you think.
I love walking because it is something that requires little to no equipment; you might need some shoes, a light/heavy jacket depending on the weather. The time doesn’t really matter if you haven’t been walking much to begin with. This activity is also really great because it is low load, easy on the joints, and allows your hips to swing.
The blood flow will increase, your heart rate may elevate slightly, and what’s even greater is that your joints will loosen up because as stated in the quote above “motion is lotion”. You can even listen to some music, enjoy the outside sounds of nature or listen to the latest episode of the “Fix your sciatica” podcast (Apple and Spotify).
Try to establish a goal for when you go out. Start off with something small (maybe even 10 minutes) and then you can increase your time by 3-5 minutes each day. You can either increase the total time walked in one bout, or you can also increase the frequency (number of times) you go for a walk. Change only one factor at a time.
To be clear, walking to and from the bathroom can count, if you are barely moving at all.
If you feel better or your pain doesn’t change when walking, this is great news. Keep it up!
If you have pain with walking, experiment with different postures. Look at yourself in the mirror, are your shoulders shifted towards one side? Try shifting your shoulders to the other side. Are you standing upright or hunched over? Switch to being hunched over or upright. Listen to your body and identify what makes you feel better when doing this activity. This will be your guide to recovery.
Interested in accelerating your recovery? Check out the sciatica protocol to have a fully customized program sent directly to your phone on a daily basis! Experience relief without having to wait in line for a doctor and complete all your exercises from the comfort of your own home! You can check it out here.