Sciatica is pain in the lower extremity resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain of sciatica is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and can radiate down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb. The pain of sciatica is sometimes referred to as sciatic nerve pain.
For most instances of sciatica pain, a specific, controlled, progressive exercise program that is tailored around the underlying cause of the sciatic pain will be part of the recommended treatment program. The specific sciatica exercises serve two main purposes:
- Reduces the sciatic pain in the near term
- Provides conditioning to help prevent future recurrences of the pain