Superman Exercise For Sciatica
Since early in my athletic career I have been plagued with back aches. In high school and college pole vaulting was stressful on my spine and there were times when I would fall outside the landing pit causing a few days of pain or at least soreness. Eventually vaulting gave way to my 4 years of serious gymnastics. I loved beach trampoline and flying ring dismounts onto the sand. Once at 21 years of age I did a front fly-away (flip) from the rings where I over rotated landing directly onto my head from 5 or 6 feet in the air at Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach. That gave me the worst neck pain of my life. In addition to those experiences of injury and pain, construction work for over 20 years has left me with discomfort I must suffer with daily.
Starting in my early thirties I took the advice of therapists, coaches and trainers increasing my efforts to strengthen my abdominal muscles each morning to reduce the back aches. As many exercise freaks do, I typically include abdominal crunches on the floor, bent leg sit-ups and straight leg circling. Those in addition to plenty of stretching have given me a mental lift each morning so I can walk out the door going to work with less aggravation from my daily nagging spinal discomfort.
In my thirties I began to notice sciatica soreness when driving long distances or piloting small planes for extended periods of time. I can’t say I expected the sciatica but it wasn’t long before I self diagnosed the problem and began to sit on a tennis ball or softball under my hamstrings while watching TV. I got considerable relief but only for short periods before the annoying soreness returned so naturally I googled sciatica remedies.
After looking through some of the articles and blog posts I found a writing by someone recommending using the position of lying on ones stomach which I found intriguing. The author suggested raising the right leg and left arm for a short period and then reversing to the left leg and right arm holding again. Next, the exercise was increased in difficulty directing the subject to raise both arms and both legs holding for 1 minute. I’ve had a lot of back pain from work related injuries and I found it excruciating to hold that position with all four limbs off the floor for more than 15 or 20 seconds. Now after over 4 years using this group of positions, I hold the opposite arm and leg positions for 20 seconds each. Then I rest 5 seconds with all limbs on the floor and finish the series holding the full Superman position for 70 seconds.
I have found this exercise medley to be the best relief for back pain I have ever tried. Of course I also do hamstring curls on a bench with a leg lever once per week to maintain strength in the adjacent muscle groups around the lower back and sciatic nerve.