Extension exercises usually have the best effect on your back pain when you perform them lying face down on your stomach. However, during the later stages of pregnancy (when sciatica most often strikes–and strikes the worst) that can be a rather impossible feat! Luckily, there is a way to modify the standard extension exercise so that it better meets the needs of a pregnant woman’s body.
How Do Extension Exercises Relieve Sciatica?
Before you learn how to do an extension exercise, you will want to know why you would want to do one in the first place: how is stretching my arms and legs going to help ease my sciatica pain? Since sciatica pain is often located in the lower back, the buttocks, and the leg, it seems silly to suggest that exercising the arms and legs will have an effect on your sciatic nerve (which can be found near the end of your spine, near your pelvic region), but it does! Here’s why:
Sciatica during pregnancy can occur or get worse because of a damaged or weak spine, so you want to keep your spine in tip-top shape, especially during your pregnancy when your spine has extra weight to bare. Stretching your arms and legs will help you do just that! By extending your arms and legs in exercise, you are encouraging fluid to move between your spinal discs, ensuring proper lubrication of the spine. A well-lubricated spine is not likely to bend or crack and cause a herniated disc, which is a main cause of sciatica. Any way that you can help support your spine throughout your pregnancy will be good for warding off or relieving sciatica!
How to Do Extension Exercises for Sciatica (Modified)
Although extension exercises for sciatica are usually done laying down, you can change it up a bit and do it standing up! With that slight modification to the typical extension exercise, pregnant women can use them to lessen and even prevent sciatica.
1. Stand up straight, and place your hands on your hips.
2. Arch you back backwards. Make sure to do this slowly.
3. Hold the stretch.
Make sure you avoid bending forward for this stretch. Unlike other exercises that you only want to repeat a couple of time no more than once a day, extension exercises can be done more frequently–even just 2 hours apart! This extension exercise is also very subtle and easy, so you can do it mid-day at work or before you cook dinner. Definitely a versatile, productive stretch!