9 Sciatica Stretches And Exercises For Pain Relief

Feature | woman donig yoga pose | Sciatica Stretches and Exercises for Pain Relief | sciatic nerve

Sciatica stretches are a great way to relieve and speed up your recovery from sciatica.

In this article:

  1. Sitting Pigeon Pose
  2. Sitting Spinal Stretch
  3. Reclining Pigeon Pose
  4. Knee to Opposite Shoulder
  5. Knee to Chest
  6. Sciatic Mobilizing Stretch
  7. Lying Deep Gluteal Stretch
  8. Back Extensions
  9. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stretch That Pain Away: 9 Exercises to Help Ease Sciatica

Sciatic Nerve Definition: a large nerve that starts in the lower back and ends at the back of each leg.

Sciatica Definition: pain caused by a problematic or injured sciatic nerve. It is often described as pain, numbness, or weakness that starts in the lower back all the way down to the hips, butt, legs, feet or toes.

 

1. Sitting Pigeon Pose

In yoga, the pigeon pose stretches the hips. There are many variations of this pose that may relieve sciatica.

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Make sure your back is straight.
  • Put your right ankle above the left knee.
  • Using your upper body, lean forward and reach for your left toes.
  • Keep reaching for your toes for 15-30 seconds.
  • Place your right leg back in the first position.
  • Repeat the steps with the left leg.

2. Sitting Spinal Stretch

two woman donig yoga | Sciatica Stretches and Exercises for Pain Relief | sciatic nerve

Sometimes, spinal compression in the vertebrae can cause sciatica. The sitting spinal stretch may relieve the pressure on the nerve.

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Extend your legs forward.
  • Flex your feet upwards.
  • Place your right foot next to the outer side of your left knee.
  • Make sure your foot is flat on the floor.
  • Put your left elbow on the outer side of your right knee.
  • Turn your upper body to the right.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
  • Repeat the steps for the other side.

3. Reclining Pigeon Pose

woman laying working out | Sciatica Stretches and Exercises for Pain Relief | sciatic nerve pain

There’s a small muscle found in the buttocks called the piriformis muscle. Sometimes, this muscle becomes inflamed and presses against the sciatic nerve.

This variation of the sitting pigeon pose helps stretch the piriformis muscle and may relieve sciatica.

Instructions:

  • Lay down on your back.
  • Lift your right leg up, making a right angle.
  • Using both hands, hold your leg up at your lower thigh (the area right above your knee).
  • Lock your fingers together.
  • Raise your left leg.
  • Put your right ankle on top of the left knee.
  • Move your left leg (with your right ankle on top of its knee) to make a right angle.
  • Hold the position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Repeat the steps for the other side.

Tip: Use a yoga mat for exercises that require you to lay down on the floor.

4. Knee to Opposite Shoulder

This stretch works to loosen muscles in your buttocks. Specifically, it works on the gluteal and piriformis muscles.

These muscles can become inflamed and may irritate the sciatic nerve.

Instructions:

  • Lay on your back.
  • Extend your legs forward.
  • Flex your feet upwards.
  • Bend your right leg.
  • Using both hands, grip the area under your right knee.
  • Slowly pull your right leg towards your left shoulder.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
  • Use your hands to guide your right leg back to the first position.
  • Repeat these steps three more times on the same leg before switching to the other leg.

Tip: Be mindful of your body and don’t overexert yourself. The aim of the exercise is to stretch muscles and it should not cause pain.

RELATED: Back Pain Relief | How to Alleviate Winter Back Pain Naturally

5. Knee to Chest

woman stretching knee | Sciatica Stretches and Exercises for Pain Relief | sciatic nerve pain

This stretch helps ease the lower back muscles.

Instructions:

  • Lay on your back.
  • Place a flat cushion under your head.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor.
  • Tuck your chin in.
  • Bend your right knee upwards to your chest.
  • Using both hands, clasp your right knee and lock your fingers.
  • Hold it for 20-30 seconds while breathing deeply.
  • Switch to the other leg.
  • Repeat the stretch three times for each leg.

Tips: Keep your upper body (neck, chest, and shoulders) relaxed.

6. Sciatic Mobilizing Stretch

This stretch targets the sciatic nerve itself.

Instructions:

  • Lay on your back.
  • Place a flat cushion under your head.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor.
  • Tuck your chin in.
  • Slowly lift your right bended knee up towards your chest.
  • Using both hands, clasp the back of your upper leg (the area above your knee).
  • Slowly straighten the knee so that the leg is pointing towards the ceiling.
  • Hold the leg for 20-30 seconds.
  • Take deep breaths while holding the pose.
  • Slowly bend the right knee and return the leg back in position.
  • Alternate the legs and repeat the exercise 2-3 times for each leg.

Tip: Don’t weigh down your lower back as you stretch. It’s best to do this exercise slowly to see how far you can stretch comfortably.

7. Lying Deep Gluteal Stretch

This exercise stretches your buttocks. It helps relieve stiffness and pain.

Instructions:

  • Lay on your back.
  • Place a flat cushion under your head.
  • Bend left leg.
  • Make sure your left foot is flat on the floor.
  • Put your right ankle on top of your upper left thigh (just above the knee).
  • Using both hands, clasp your left thigh and lock your fingers.
  • Pull your left thigh towards your upper body.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds while taking deep breaths.
  • Alternate the legs. Repeat 2-3 the exercise 2-3 times for each leg.

Tip: Keep your hips straight and make sure that your spine’s base is on the floor while you stretch.

If your arms aren’t long enough to grasp your thighs for this exercise, use a towel.

8. Back Extensions

woman doing back extension | Sciatica Stretches and Exercises for Pain Relief | sciatica

This exercise stretches your stomach muscles and lower back. It also helps you have better posture and prevents further back injury.

Instructions:

  • Lay down facing the floor.
  • Bend your elbow and rest your arms at your side.
  • Rest your palms flat on the floor.
  • Keep your neck straight and keep your eyes on the floor.
  • Push down on your hands and arch your back up.
  • Hold the arch for 5-10 seconds while breathing deeply.
  • Repeat this exercise 8-10 times.

Tip: Try not to bend your neck backward as you arch your back. Make sure your hips are on the floor while arching.

9. Standing Hamstring Stretch

runner doing stretching | Sciatica Stretches and Exercises for Pain Relief | sciatica

This stretch loosens your hamstrings and may ease lower back pain.

Instructions:

  • Stand straight.
  • Raise your right leg on a step or any other stable object.
  • Keep your right leg straight.
  • Point your right toes upwards.
  • Lean forward.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds while breathing deeply.
  • Alternate legs and repeat the exercise 2-3 times for each leg.

Tip: Keep your back straight while you lean forward. Make sure your lower back does not arch as you stretch.

 

Learn more about how to treat sciatica in this video from Tone and Tighten:

When doing these sciatica stretches, it’s important that you listen to your body. Don’t overexert yourself and stretch only as far as it’s still comfortable.

Apart from these stretches, you can also use heat packs or over the counter medication to help relieve the pain. There are also supplements available that may help promote healing and prevent further back injury.

These stretches are a great way to help relieve sciatica, but it’s always best to consult your doctor before attempting any exercise regimen. If you experience continuous or severe pain while attempting these exercises, see your doctor immediately.

Are you experiencing back pain? What do you do to deal with it? Let us know in the comments section. 

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