Exercises to Say Goodbye to Sciatica Pain

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Sciatica nerve pain can be extremely painful and exhausting. That is why it is hard for people to get off the couch. According to Mindy Marantz, a certified physical therapist, the first step towards solving this issue is to identify what doesn’t move.

Often, this problem can occur in the lower part of the body like the hips and the lower back. So, the best way to soothe this pain is to do stretches that can provide some relief, says Dr. Mark Kovacs. But, before we start with the exercises, it is best to help people understand the pain.

The sciatic nerve is a big nerve that runs from the lower back and towards each leg. If you injure the leg, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause pain in the lower back. As a result, this pain can spread to the buttocks, leg, and hip.

However, it is possible to treat sciatica pain, since 90% of people recover from this problem without the need for surgery.

Symptoms of Sciatica

If pain from the lower back stretches all the way to the hip, buttocks, and the leg, it could mean that you have sciatica. Moreover, there is a possibility that the pain in the one leg can get worse when you cough, sneeze or sit.

As a result, the leg can feel weak, tingly, or numb at times. Furthermore, sciatica can appear out of nowhere and even last for days or weeks.

Causes

The people who can get sciatica are between the ages of 30 and 50. But, women are more likely to develop this problem during pregnancy, since the pressure on the sciatic nerve can be overwhelming. Other symptoms may include a hibernated disk, degenerative arthritis of the spine, or an injury.

Performing Muscle Stretches

It is important for relieving sciatica pain to do some stretches. Besides, there are some stretching exercises that can prove useful for soothing the muscle pain. Here are some exercises you can try out to treat some of the pain.

But, before you start any of these stretches, you need to warm up. So, go for a walk, climb up and down the stairs, or march someplace. This way you can warm up your body for a few minutes. After the warm-up, it is time to try out these 10 stretches.

However, have in mind that you should do exercises that won’t cause your body unnecessary pain or complications. Also, you shouldn’t overdo it.

Note: Always consult with a spine specialist first before trying to do anything alone.

1. Long Adductor Stretch

To commence with this stretch, first, you have to sit on the floor and stretch your legs straight and as far apart as you can. Now, gently tilt your torso towards the ground and place both your hands on the floor next to each other.

Now that you are in the right position try to touch your elbows by slowly moving forward. However, don’t tilt too much if you feel any pain. Hold the position that you can for about 20 seconds and release.

Note: If you feel pain in your legs from doing this stretch, for example, in the thighs or knees, you should do some stretches before trying this particular stretch.

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Here is a video that shows how to do it.

2. Hip Stretching Exercise

First, get on the ground on all fours and line up your hands with the shoulders. Next, while your knees are on the ground, try to tilt your weight off the leg that is painful, slowly. Now raise the leg upwards and bend the knee.

After you have reached a certain point that you can hold on to, lower your leg slowly. Lastly, repeat this 15 times, or as long as you can. But, don’t overdo it.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

3. Seated Stretching Exercise

To do this stretch, you should sit on a stable chair with your legs crossed. Your affected leg should be over the other healthy knee. Now, try to slowly bend your body and bring the chest forward while keeping the spine straight.

Hold this position for a short time, or as long as you can. In this case, 30 seconds are enough. Finally, slowly release and repeat the same stretch with the other leg.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

4. Supine Piriformis Exercise

For this stretch, you should lie down and bend your knees upwards. Cross your legs, your affected leg should be over the healthy leg, and bend it upwards towards the chest. Now, grab one ankle with one hand and the knee with the other hand and pull slowly towards your shoulders.

However, the legs should be in line with your ankle. Hold this position for 30 seconds, or until you feel some reaction in the buttocks.

Note: If you feel a pinch in the legs, it means that you should stretch first before you try this exercise. But, if there are no problems with your legs, continue the exercise.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

5. Outer Hip Stretching Exercise

Lie on the back and bend the painful knee towards the ceiling by placing your foot close to the back of the other healthy knee. Now, tuck the foot behind the other knee and twist the leg to the opposite direction of the knee that faces the floor.

After that, if you are stretching, for example, the left leg, then you should place the right hand on the knee and raise the other arm upwards. Now that you are in the proper position, you should slowly lower the other arm towards the opposite knee and try to touch the shoulder to the floor.

Stay in this position for 20 seconds and repeat the same process again with the other leg. Finally, return to the same lying position and stretch both legs while bending the knees towards together and slowly pulling them with the hands towards the chest.

But, don’t worry if your shoulder can’t touch the ground at the begging. In fact, you will have to do this stretch a couple of times before you succeed. Besides, the goal of this stretch is to ease sciatica pain, not trying to test your limits.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

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6. Supine Side Stretch

To do this stretch first, you would have to lie on the ground with your legs flat and the back straight. Next, bend the painful leg towards the ceiling and place the foot near the knee on the outer side of the healthy leg.

With the opposite hand, slowly pull the knee towards the painful leg until you feel the stretch. If it is painful, loosen up the stretch. But, you shouldn’t lift your hips or shoulders off the ground. Hold the position closest to the knee as you can for 30 seconds and return to the starting position.

Finally, repeat the process for 2 to 3 times by switching the legs.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

7. Side-Lying Stretching Exercise

Start by laying on the ground sideways, with the affected hip on top. Now, bend the legs back to get the L shape. But, make sure that the legs are parallel to each other and one foot is on the other. Also, you should bend the spine and the body the same way and keep the feet together.

Lastly, remain in this position for a short period and return to the original position. Repeat this stretch 15 times.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

8. Buttocks Muscle Stretching

Put your knees and the hands on the ground and bring the painful leg’s foot under the trunk. Next, twist it near the hip towards the opposite side. Also, make sure that the knee is pointing towards the shoulder.

Now, lower the head, lean the forearms on the ground to try and hold yourself and try to touch the ground with your forehead.  After that, carefully stretch the healthy leg behind you and keep the pelvis straight.

Finally, push the hips towards the floor and hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch 2 to 3 times.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

9. Inner Thigh Stretch

To properly stretch your inner thighs, you will need to try this exercise. Sit on the ground and pull your feet together in front of the pelvis. Now, hold the ankles with the opposite hand and push downward with the knees until you get closer and closer to the ground.

But, stop before any pain occurs and hold a certain position for 30 seconds. Lastly, if you think you can do a deeper stretch, use the elbows to push your knees down and bend the torso forward while keeping the back straight.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

10. Standing Piriformis Exercise

This exercise can be very beneficial for soothing sciatica pain. So, while standing, place the painful leg over the healthy leg’s knee and carefully lower the hips towards the ground. Next, lean forwards and extend the arms.

Moreover, you should keep your back straight at all times to avoid any disturbance or the need for support.

Here is a video that shows how to do it.

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