Back Pain? It Could Be Sciatica

By Ellen Yates, Founder and President of N2SHAPE

While back pain is a common and usually temporary problem, sciatica – a shooting pain and sometimes numbness that goes from the lower back and down the hip and leg – can be a chronic issue that flares up again and again. Sciatica can put a cramp in your style but after treating a flare up with a day or two of rest, movement is crucial to recovery as well as preventing future occurrences.

If you’re looking for relief and want to prevent further back pain, exercise is key. Focus on stretching, strengthening of the core and even cardiovascular exercise. We have included some exercises and advice for doing it alone.

Stretching for Sciatica

Maintaining flexibility is very important for a person who is prone to develop this painful condition. Stretching the surrounding muscles in the lower back and hamstrings that might otherwise lead to a pinching of the sciatic nerve is of paramount importance. Here is a stretch we recommend you do daily (hold for 30 seconds):

Stretching for Sciatica

Core Workouts for Sciatica Prevention and Relief

Well-developed core strength can help protect the lower back from becoming misaligned and lower the chances of strains and sprains. We highly recommend Pilates to develop core strength and to keep your spine properly aligned.

Cardio Workouts With Back Pain? Yes!

Cardio may be the most difficult type of workout to do during a flare up because many types of cardio are fairly high-impact. But cardio exercise is important to both healing and general health, with perks that include improved circulation, a strong heart, the release of mood boosting endorphins, and the burning of extra calories that might otherwise be stored as fat.

We recommend the following cardio exercises with back pain:

  • Swimming is an excellent workout for people who suffer from back pain. It’s a very, very low-impact environment for getting the heart rate up without the jarring of the joints and spine.
  • Walking is fantastic for people with back problems because it keeps extra body weight off (which intensifies sciatic nerve issues) and allows muscles to retain their mobility and limberness.


A personal trainer can help you develop an in-home program tailored to your specific needs. N2SHAPE is here to help by offering personal training and Pilates one-on-one to manually stretch and strengthen muscles. Contact N2SHAPE for a free consultation.

Ellen Yates is the founder and president of N2SHAPE. Named by Washingtonian magazine as one of the top personal trainers in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, she excels in providing personalized attention and creating fitness and weight loss programs that are tailored to the specific abilities and goals of each individual. She also designs corporate wellness and community wellness programs and is available for public speaking engagements.

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