Hiking with Sciatica: How to Do It?

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  • Post last modified:August 22, 2023
  • Post category:Knowledge Base
  • Reading time:10 mins read

If you’re an avid hiker who suddenly finds yourself dealing with sciatica, don’t despair – there are still plenty of ways to enjoy your favorite activity.

With a little extra care and preparation, you can hike with sciatica pain. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your next hike:

Hiking With Sciatica: How to Do It?

Hiking with Sciatica

What is Sciatica Pain Anyway?

Sciatica pain is a common condition that can cause symptoms of pain, tingling, and numbness in the lower back, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body.

The sciatic nerve extends from the lower back through the buttocks and down the leg to the foot. Sciatica pain can vary from mild to severe, and it may worsen with extended sitting or standing.

Treatment for sciatica pain often includes rest, ice or heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain relievers. In some cases, physical therapy or surgery may be necessary to relieve symptoms.

Does Hiking Aggravate Sciatica?

If you’re not careful, hiking can aggravate sciatica pain.

The pain of sciatica comes from the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back through the hip and down the leg. When this nerve is irritated or compressed, it can cause pain in the lower back, hip, and leg.

Hiking can aggravate sciatica because it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. When you hike, you are constantly moving your legs and hips, which can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve. Additionally, hiking up hills or stairs can put extra pressure on the sciatic nerve and lead to more pain.

Does Hiking Help Sciatica?

Did you know that it can also help relieve sciatica pain? Sciatica is caused by a pinched nerve in the lower back, and the pain can radiate down the leg.

Hiking can help stretch out the muscles and relieve the pressure on the nerve. It’s also a low-impact activity, so it won’t aggravate the pain like some other exercises may.

But, of course, you do need to take some precautions to make hiking work for yourself, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

Hiking can also be a great way to minimize the risk of developing sciatica.

According to a study conducted on around 35000 people, walking can lower the risk of sciatica by 33%.

Something to keep in mind for those who want to keep themselves away from sciatica pain.

Related Post: Hiking With a Weighted Vest: Worth It?

Can Hiking Cause Sciatica?

Can you hike with Sciatica?

Hiking can be an incredibly healthy outdoor activity if done right.

So, it doesn’t generally cause Sciatica if you don’t let it.

However, Sciatica is a condition that you can develop due to any number of reasons, including:

  • Inappropriate posture
  • Long sitting
  • Heavy workouts
  • Or, more

So, can hiking cause Sciatica? Yes, if you’re not careful with your posture, intensity of hiking, slope, and things of that nature.

Related Post: How Many Miles Can You Hike in a Day?

Hiking With Sciatica: How to Do It the Right Way?

If you’re an avid hiker who happens to suffer from sciatica pain, don’t let the condition stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. Here are a few tips to help you hike safely with sciatica:

Choose an easy trail. Avoid steep inclines and rocky terrain that could jar your spine and aggravate your sciatica pain.

Take breaks often. Don’t push yourself too hard – if you start to feel pain, take a break and rest for a few minutes.

Wear supportive shoes. Make sure your shoes offer good arch support and cushioning to help reduce the impact on your spine and legs.

Stretch before and after your hike, paying special attention to the muscles in your back and legs.

Bring along pain medication in case you need it during or after the hike.

Hiking With Sciatica: What to Do Before the Hike?

Warm Up Your Muscles

Start by stretching your hamstrings, calves, and lower back. You can also do some gentle yoga poses to help loosen up your muscles.

Once you’re warmed up, start your hike at a slow pace. If you begin to feel any pain, stop and rest for a few minutes.

Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. With a little careful planning, you can still enjoy hiking even with sciatica.

Avoid Standing for Long Periods

Avoid standing for long periods of time. If you must stand, try to shift your weight often and move around as much as possible.

Second, wear comfortable shoes with good support.

Third, carry a light pack so that you don’t put too much strain on your back.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Wearing comfortable shoes is important for people with sciatica. Shoes should have good arch support and cushioning to reduce the impact on the spine and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Avoid high heels and shoes with poor support. Instead, choose hiking boots or sneakers with good arch support.

Hiking With Sciatica: What to Do After?

Get Plenty of Rest

This will help your body to recover from the strenuous exercise and also give your sciatica a chance to heal. If you can, try to take a hot bath or use a heating pad on the affected area. This will help to loosen up the muscles and reduce inflammation.

Avoid Strenuous Activities

It is important to avoid strenuous activities after the hike to prevent exacerbating the symptoms.

Hiking with Sciatica: FAQs

Can I Go Hiking With Sciatica Pain?

Yes, you can go hiking with Sciatica pain. In fact, you can use hiking as a way to reduce your pain and even cure the issue.

Can Hiking Make Sciatica Worse?

There is no definitive answer to this question since everyone experiences pain differently. However, if you are already experiencing pain in your lower back or legs, hiking may aggravate your symptoms. It is always best to consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

Is Walking Uphill Good for Sciatica?

The general rule of thumb is you don’t want to have a bad posture with Sciatica symptoms. And hiking uphill does change your overall posture. So, it’s better to avoid uphill hikes if you’re experiencing Sciatica pain.

Conclusion: Hiking with Sciatica

In conclusion, hiking with sciatica can be difficult and frustrating. However, it is possible to hike in this condition if you take the necessary precautions.

Make sure to stretch before and after your hike, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you experience any pain while hiking, stop and rest for a few minutes.

Most importantly, always consult your doctor before going on a hike.


I'm an outdoor enthusiast and serial entrepreneur, with a splash of digital marketing and telecom engineering in my DNA. When I'm not working, you'll find me spending time traveling with my son, and loving on my dog, Tobster.

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