Learn safe and effective exercises for alleviating sciatica pains. Hosted by Dr. George Best.
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George Best: Hello! I am Dr. George Best at Best Health and Wellness in San Antonio, Texas, and this video is some basic exercises you can do to alleviate Sciatica and Sciatica like pain that's actually being created by a condition called Piriformis Syndrome. To begin with, I am going to start with a very basic, but a very safe and effective treatment that you can do on your own at home for treating Sciatica due to a disc herniation or due to a disc bulge, where it's actually pushing into the nerve. And this first exercise is part of what's known as McKinsey method. A lot of times you will hear McKinsey refer to as McKinsey Extension Technique or McKinsey Extension Exercises, and it is true that most of the McKinsey exercises do involve spinal extension as we are going to show you in this video, although there are a few situations where you would use different positions other than spinal extension even spinal flexion to do McKinsey. But let me go ahead and show you the basic approach to treating disc related Sciatica. You probably don't have kind of chiropractic table at home, but if you have any flat firm surface, you can do this on the bed too, but it's usually you have to have a firm surface, so if you don't have something firm to lie on the floor is really actually better than doing on most beds unless you have a really firm mattress. So let me go ahead and show you the basic position first. When you get into position what you are going to do is first definitely loose yourself up and pop yourself up on your elbows just like this, and you can maintain this position for up to couple of minutes a time. You can actually go longer than that without causing any problems, but if you go longer than that, there is a tendency somehow for the back muscles to start getting really tight. So I recommend staying in this position for maybe a minute or two and then either lying flat again or getting up and moving around. With McKinsey technique, the true method of using it is to actually try to find different positions that help reduce what is called centralization of the symptoms. So let's say that my left leg here is where I am having Sciatica and it's going all the way down to my leg to my foot. In centralization what we look for is for the symptoms to leave the areas farthest from the spine even if things get maybe more painful closer to the spine. So what I am looking for, if I have Sciatica in my left leg going all the way to my foot, when I get into this position -- and it may take a moment or two for things to settle because the change of position can be painful. Once you have been this position for maybe 30 seconds or so, you will begin to notice whether it makes a change in the Sciatica. So if you are in this position and you notice that you don't have the Sciatica all the way to the foot anymore that maybe it only goes to your calf, that's a good sign. And if you do repeated sessions of this or if you are stay in it for a little bit longer and you notice that the pain is no longer in the calf, now it is actually up into the thigh area, that's good. That's centralization symptoms and that's what we want to see from this type of exercise. Now you can take this position a step further if you are comfortable doing it, and what you do to do that it is you do kind of like you are getting ready to do a push up, but instead of raising your whole body, you just raise your upper body and produce that curve in the lower back. And it's a little harder to maintain this position for a longer period of time because you have to use arms, and you can even straighten your arms all the way out if you want to, to extenuate the curve even more. Again, you are looking for centralization of the symptoms, so if the symptoms are leaving the areas down in the leg, even if they may get a little bit more painful in the lower back at first, that's a good sign and that's what you want to do. So that's the basic aspect of this exercise. There is a slightly di