Can hydrotherapy help sciatica? If you believe you suffer from sciatica you should visit a doctor. If you’re completely immobilized, feel pain in the back of both legs simultaneously, if the pain continually gets worse or it lasts longer than six weeks, you should seek emergency treatment. Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy in the medical community, is the term for the symptoms caused by an irritated sciatic nerve. These symptoms include pain, numbness, and weakness in the buttocks, the back of a leg or the feet and toes.
A doctor may prescribe gentle exercise, physiotherapy (which can include hydrotherapy,) medication or possibly surgery. As mentioned, sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve – the longest nerve in the body. This can be the result of slipped discs in the back, movement of bones in the back that affect the sciatic nerve (spondylolisthesis,) a narrowing of the bones in the spinal column causing a pinching of the sciatic nerve (spinal stenosis,) or other back injuries.
Although the pain may be a reason to cause one to limit their physical activity, sitting or lying down for long periods of time can actually exacerbate the problems associated with sciatica. The best thing to do for yourself if you’re suffering from sciatica is to stay active, perform a gentle exercise and regularly stretch out your muscles. Hydrotherapy can play a role in making this happen. Below are some of the ways that you can incorporate hydrotherapy into your wellness regime.
Performing aerobic exercises in a pool or other body of water like a hot tub often works well for those who suffer from sciatica or other pain that affects the joints, muscles, nerves, and bones. The buoyant properties of water take a lot of pressure off these body parts and allow low impact exercises to be performed without the worry of falling. Water also provides natural resistance to the body movements allowing for a good cardiovascular workout while stretching out the muscles.
Swimming is another ideal exercise as it allows for a full body workout without creating any impact issues. Again, the buoyancy of the water takes the pressure off the muscles, joints, bones, and nerves and allows for a greater range of motion. Some swimming strokes can actually intensify the pain felt by sciatica sufferers, so it’s recommended to stick with the side stroke.
Simply walking in water is a good exercise for sufferers of sciatica. Water takes the pressure off the joints, bones, nerves, and muscles, provides some extra resistance for the exercise and increases stability and balance. Walking both forward and backward can stimulate and loosen different muscle groups.
Knee lifts are good exercises for sciatica sufferers because they work the muscles in the backs of the legs, the buttocks and the lower back – the main areas affected by sciatica. Performing them in chest deep water improves balance while lowering pressure on the body and reducing impact issues. Simply lift one bent knee as close to the chest as possible before repeating with the other leg.
If the pain caused by sciatica is too intense to perform basic exercises, relaxing in a hot tub can be a good way to loosen and relax the muscles to a point where exercise can be resumed. The warm water and massaging jets can soothe sore muscles, reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve while promoting flexibility and suppleness.
Now that you know how hot tubs can help with sciatica, download a hot tub buyer’s guide to learn more about the benefits of hot tubs.