5 Simple Exercises That May Help Relieve Sciatic Pain

Woman doing hamstring stretch

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  • While home remedies may help relieve sciatic pain, specialized stretches are a great supplement to your treatment plan. Below are several exercises you may try to help address sciatic pain
  • It’s important to visit your doctor to check if you can exert the physical effort required in the aforementioned exercises

While home remedies may help relieve sciatic pain, specialized stretches are a great supplement to your treatment plan. They help strengthen your muscles and joints to lower your risk of developing lower back pain and injuries in the future. Below are several exercises you may try to help address sciatic pain.

Reclining Pigeon Pose

The reclining pigeon pose is a common movement done in yoga. It’s a good choice for those who are just beginning treatment for sciatica, as it stretches the piriformis muscle. To try this maneuver, simply follow these steps:1

1. Lie on your back, then bend your right leg to a right angle. Clasp both hands behind the thigh while locking your fingers.

2. Lift your left leg then place your right ankle on top of the left knee.

3. Hold this position for a few seconds to stretch your piriformis muscle.

4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the other leg.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

This exercise can help stretch and strengthen your hamstring muscles, which is where your sciatic nerve runs through:2

1. Stand upright and raise one leg on an object, such as a small chair or the first step in a flight of stairs.

2. Keep the leg straight and your toes pointing upward.

3. Slowly lean forward while keeping your back straight. You will feel your hamstring stretch when done correctly.

4. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds while taking deep breaths.

5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 twice, then switch to your other leg.

Remember to stretch only as far as you can while staying comfortable, as leaning forward too much can hurt your hamstrings. Also, your lower back should not arch at any point during the exercise.

Seated Hip Stretch

As the name implies, the seated hip stretch requires you to sit down using a chair, preferably one tall enough so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. This exercise will stretch your piriformis muscle to help loosen tension and relieve sciatic pain:3

1. Sit on a chair, then cross one leg on top of the other leg.

2. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch develop on the crossed leg.

3. Hold this position for around 15 seconds.

4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 on the other leg.

Back Extensions

The goal of this exercise is to stretch your spine and keep it mobilized. To perform this maneuver, you will need a foam mat, then follow these steps:4

1. Lie on your stomach, then prop yourself on your elbows to lengthen your spine.

2. Keeping your neck long, arch your back by pushing down on your hands.

3. You should be able to feel a stretch on your stomach muscles, then hold this position for five to 10 seconds.

4. Return to the starting position, then repeat the exercise eight to 10 times.

Self-Trigger Point Therapy

Self-trigger point therapy is used to help treat sciatica by targeting specific pain points in your lower torso. Performing this exercise will require obtaining a lacrosse or tennis ball before you perform this maneuver:5

1. Find a painful spot in your gluteal muscles then place the ball under it.

2. Slowly lower your body into the ball and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.

3. Continue to the next spot until you feel a reduction in overall pain.

Note: The total time spent on this exercise should be five to 10 minutes only.

Before Attempting These Exercises, Consult With Your Doctor

It’s important to visit your doctor to check if you can exert the physical effort required in the aforementioned exercises. If you’re given the go signal, perform the easiest exercise first with your doctor’s guidance. This way, your physician will be able to guide you and help prevent further injuries.

MORE ABOUT SCIATICA

Sciatica: An Introduction

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica Causes

Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica Pain Relief

Sciatica Exercises

Sciatica Surgery

Sciatica Prevention

Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica Diet

Sciatica FAQ

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