Lumbar Radiculopathy Exercises

Two exercises physical therapists may use to treat lumbar radiculopathy

Lumbar radiculopathy is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and weakness in the lower back. Lumbar means in or near the lumbar region of the spine; radiculopathy means inflammation or pinching of one or more nerve roots.  

Sciatica is a type of lumbar radiculopathy that affects about 5% of people annually. It occurs when pressure on a disc in your lower spine puts pressure on the sciatic nerve roots. This condition can be caused by a herniated disc. It can also be triggered by degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis of the facet joints. Sciatica symptoms can include pain, numbness and/or weakness. These symptoms can travel from the lower back and into the buttocks or legs. 

Therapeutic exercises are often prescribed by physical therapists for lumbar radiculopathy. Such exercises have been found to help by stretching and strengthening the muscles that help support the lower back, which will also help decrease pain and stiffness associated with it. Some exercises that your physical therapist may include in your treatment regimen are:

  1. Pelvic tilt.

The pelvic tilt exercise is done by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You will then contract your stomach muscles and tilt your pelvis up so that you feel a gentle lift in your abdomen. This movement can help strengthen the abdominal muscles and also help loosen the lower back muscles. 

  1. Hip flexor stretches. 

Physical therapists often find that stretching your hip flexors is one of the most beneficial lumbar radiculopathy exercises. One way to stretch your hip flexors starts with you lying on your back. Then, bend your unaffected knee and grab your thigh with your hands. Keep your affected leg flat on the floor. Next, pull your knee up toward your chest until you feel a stretch in the upper thigh and hip of your affected leg. Stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, take a short rest and then repeat the stretch another two to four times.  

Find effective lumbar radiculopathy exercises and more at SOL PT

Lumbar radiculopathy exercises can be tricky to find. Our SOL Physical Therapy physical therapists have the expertise and training needed to help address your condition. They’ll start by finding out where your pain is coming from. Our physical therapists can then identify the best therapeutic exercises and other techniques for your needs and build them into a personalized treatment plan. 

Contact our team today for more information about lumbar radiculopathy treatment or to schedule an initial appointment. 

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

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