Sciatica Series: 14. Advancement and Progression of the #1 Sciatica Exercise

Baby press ups

Eventually we want you to progress from performing baby press ups to performing full press-ups.

CAUTION: You should not experience any significant increase in pain while doing this exercise. If you do experience pain, skip the exercise.

Place your hands flat on the floor or bed directly under your shoulders. Use your arms to lift your upper body (like a push-up) while keeping your pelvis or low back on the bed/floor. The pelvis should not be lifted off the floor and the low back should be allowed to sag. If your back is tight, you may only be able to press-up about halfway before the pelvis begins to raise up from the bed.

Repeat the press-up 5-10 times. If it becomes painful, stop. If it is not painful, finish the 5-10 repetitions and stop. If pain improves or stays the same, try it again the next day.

Correct – pelvis remains on bed or floor

Incorrect – pelvis lifts up off bed or floor

As stated earlier, you need to be aware if the exercise is effective. The exercise should be causing the pain levels and locations to decrease, shrink, and retreat. Look for improvement in the farthest most aspect of the pain first. For example, if pain, numbness, or tingling extends out into the foot, the symptoms should improve in the foot first. Watch the video entitled #1 Sign Your Sciatica is Getting Better or Getting Worse, what to look for, if you need further clarification.

Full press ups

Eventually the goal is to be able to fully extend your arms while keeping your pelvis on the bed. Some people will not be able to obtain this goal, but it should still be the end goal.

This exercise should be repeated throughout the day. If you are able to, the prone lying or prone prop exercises should be performed as many as 5-8 times a day. We have heard objections to this high frequency, but it should be noted that sciatica can be a serious condition leading to surgery. To give yourself a chance at healing you need to be devoted to the exercises and suggestions provided.

If the press-ups do not make your pain worse but they are also failing to make it better, try this movement. You may also try this if you are unable to perform a full press up. To facilitate movement, try press-ups with overpressure.

Press-ups with overpressure:

Take a sheet and roll it up lengthwise. Place the sheet over your pelvis and use your hands to secure the ends of the sheet with hands flat under your shoulders. Perform press-ups with the sheet providing a counter pressure over the pelvis. Again, this should all be pain-free or don’t do it. If tolerated with no significant increased pain, repeat press-ups with overpressure 5-10 times. If you experience no pain, repeat this 5-8 times per day as able.

You can also use a stretch strap or belt

Check out the full Sciatica series of videos along with downloadable guide sheets for each video on our website.

DISCLAIMER We insist that you see a physician before starting this video series. Furthermore, this video series is not designed to replace the treatment of a professional: physician, osteopath, physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, or chiropractor. It may however serve as an adjunct. Do not go against the advice of your health care professional. When under the care of a professional make certain that they approve of all that you try. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. Any information given about back-related conditions, treatments, and products is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this publication. Before starting an exercise program, consult a physician.

Medical Disclaimer All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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