How To Deal With Sciatica and Knee Pain - You Need A Stronger Butt??
As many of you know, I have been struggling with sciatica for a long time. In fact, in a previous post we talked about how rolling and doing deep tissue on sciatica issues is actually not as helpful as many people think and can even be detrimental at times (due to the fact that what feels like muscle pain is actually nerve impingement referring down the buttocks and leg).
Unfortunately, my sciatica has been flaring up again recently, and at the same time my old knee injury has been bothering me—to the point where I have been having to use a knee brace again. Interestingly, I actually noticed that my sciatica flared up just before my knee injury started bothering me again, and that made me wonder if the two were related.
I did some research and found out that—as many of you probably know—many of our injuries can be due to muscular imbalances in the body. I personally have very weak glutes, and it turns out that weak glutes have been implicated in both sciatica issues and knee issues. Since I have both of those issues—and weak glutes—I have decided to start experimenting with strengthening my glutes to see if this helps. In addition to Foundation Exercises, which stabilize the back by activating the glutes and obliques—there are three exercises that directly strengthen the glutes.
The first exercise is a hip thrust, which involves lying on your back with your knees bent, feet planted on the floor, and arms flat on the floor, and then pushing the hips upward into the air. Do this slowly and repeat it a number of times while keeping the core and glutes tight to strengthen the butt.
The second exercise is a lateral banded walk. Get a Theraband or other large physical therapy rubber band and wrap it around both ankles. Widen the feet until the band is stretched taut, then push your butt back and bend your knees into a mellow squat. Keep your back straight and your core engaged while stepping your right foot 10 inches out to the right, then following it with your left foot. Then step back the other direction, leading with the left and following with the right. Repeat a number of times until you start to feel fatigue in the glutes.
The final exercise for your glutes is the curtsey lunge. Start standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight and your core tight, bring your left foot behind you and to the outside of your right foot. Lower your hips through your glutes until your right knee is bent around 90 degrees, then raise and return to the starting position. Repeat five times, then switch legs.
Hope these exercises can help strengthen your (and my!) glutes so we no longer have sciatica or knee pain!