Back and leg pain can result from sciatica, which occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed. This nerve runs down the length of the back of each leg, and it also runs through the hips and buttocks into the lower back. If the nerve becomes compressed anywhere along that length, sciatic pain may occur. Relieving sciatica starts with identifying the cause of the problem. The pain may result from something simple such as tight muscles, or it might be something more complex like a herniated disc. To begin relieving sciatica, identify the cause and try to understand what daily habits might be at the root of it.
Relieving sciatica that is caused by muscle tightness starts with developing a regular routine of stretching and exercise. Weaker muscles are more prone to sciatica because they tend to tire more quickly. When muscles tire, they tend to tighten up, and that tightening can lead to compression on the sciatic nerve. Strengthening muscles in the legs, hips, buttocks, and lower back can be an important step in relieving sciatica, especially in people who do not exercise regularly. Simply stretching daily can also help alleviate the pain associated with sciatica by stretching out those tired and tight muscles that may be compressing the nerve.
A herniated disc is a common cause of sciatica as well, and relieving sciatica in such a case may be more complicated. A herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc ruptures, placing pressure on any of the nerves that are in the vicinity of the damaged disc. If a spinal disc in the lower back ruptures, it may place pressure on the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica. Most herniated discs heal on their own, and the sciatica will be relieved along with it, but if the pain persists, physical therapy may be in order. In very serious cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the sciatica due to a herniated disc; surgery is usually only relied upon for relieving sciatica if neurological issues arise, such as loss of feeling or an loss of control of the limb.
Designing and participating in a core workout can help relieve sciatica long-term. By strengthening the muscles that support the spine, a sciatica sufferer is less likely to experience spinal compression that can lead to sciatica, and he or she is less likely to experience chronic muscle tightness that can cause compression on the sciatic nerve. Consulting a personal trainer can help a person develop an effective core workout.