The best home exercises for the treatment of degenerative disc disease (stenosis) and sciatic nerve pain at home. How to eliminate back pain and treat your sciatic nerve symptoms with stretches and exercises. Tips and advice from a doctor of physical therapy.
These are the best stretches to alleviate your sciatic nerve and back pain due to stenosis. PHASE TWO is to strengthen and stabilize your back with the right exercises. You can get PHASE TWO right here: https://youtu.be/Fv3lKPAy53c
** PLEASE NOTE: the exercises and stretches I’m demonstrating below are for one very specific type of back pain - DISC DEGENERATION and/or STENOSIS. For those of you who may be suffering from another common diagnosis - a herniated disc or a bulged disc with sciatic nerve pain/symptoms - I encourage you to check out this video that I did for the best treatment options for that diagnosis: https://youtu.be/fDkw-Zi5MBg **
Another common cause of sciatic nerve pain is a tight hip muscle called piriformis syndrome. Click here for the best treatment for piriformis syndrome: https://youtu.be/5ZXJEO6fc-4
EXERCISES START AT 5:09
HOW TO DIAGNOSE YOUR SCIATIC NERVE PAIN: https://youtu.be/KhTDej-LKRM
THE BEST STRETCHES FOR LOW BACK PAIN: https://youtu.be/U390c5-9fX8
5 CORE EXERCISES YOU SHOULD DO EVERYDAY:
For the purposes of this video today, I’ll be covering the signs and symptoms associated with one very specific type of low back pain - degenerative disc disease (or DDD), stenosis, and sciatic nerve pain. There’s a lot that the right stretches and core exercises can do to alleviate the symptoms associated with this condition and help you to feel better.
WHAT IS DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE?
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is not an actual “disease” - rather it refers to a condition that affects the discs between our vertebrae. The vertebrae of our spine are each separated by an individual “disc”. This is a cartilaginous structure that’s filled with an aqueous fluid that allows our spines to bend, twist, and absorb shock.
Over time, these water-based discs lose their ability to retain fluid and "dry up" - concomitantly the disc height starts to decrease (or “degenerate”). Oftentimes this decreases spine mobility and causes pain/inflammation at the area of the degeneration.
WHAT IS STENOSIS?
As the disc collapses, intervertebral foramen (or opening) through which the spinal nerves exit becomes narrower. This “narrowing” is referred to as stenosis. When the foramen becomes so narrow that the nerve becomes impinged this can be the cause of pain in our back and sciatic nerve symptoms (numbness/tingling/pain) down your back.
Now that you know what this condition is and what causes it, let’s discuss some of the best home exercises for the treatment of degenerative disc disease and demonstrate some ideas to help you feel better.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE?
Some of the most-common signs of disc degeneration include -
* Age older than 40
* Previous low back injury
* Bending forward feels better than bending backwards
* Symptoms are aggravated with upright postures and are typically alleviated when you lay down
HOW TO TREAT DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
The goal of conservative exercise care in the treatment of DDD is to find a “midpoint” or “neutral zone” in your spine positioning that creates as much space between the vertebrae and in the foramen as possible. Just like bending over backwards causes these foramen to close, bending forward or “flattening out your back” causes them to open up.
If you do have DDD and lumbar stenosis creating more space in the vertebrae and foramen should help to feel better. However - If performing these exercises causes your pain to increase then that’s a strong sign that these are not the best exercise for your condition.
BEST EXERCISES FOR DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
Here are the best exercises to open up and create more space in your intervertebral foramina (the openings through which your nerves exit out of your spinal cord). We want to stretch to make them wider and then strengthen in that position to maintain that space.
Please watch the video for full pictures and descriptions
1. Side Rotations
2. Single-Knee-To-Chest Stretch
3. Double-Knee-To-Chest Stretch
4. Piriformis Stretch
5. Child’s Pose
6. Posterior Pelvic Tilt (PPT)
7. PPT with March
Degenerative disc disease is a condition that affects millions of people. It can be a debilitating, painful condition, but fortunately there’s a lot that conservative care and physical therapy can do to help it! Regularly performing these exercises can help to ameliorate your low back and sciatic nerve pain and help you to feel better.