6 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief
Sciatica is a common form of chronic pain. While this condition can be debilitating and can limit the range of motion and activity levels, there are some stretches and exercises that can be done at home to reduce the severity of your sciatica nerve pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a form of nerve pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve (from the lower back down the back of the leg). Sciatica is caused by pinching or compression of the sciatic nerve. Common causes include herniated discs in the spine or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column). Pain, inflammation, and numbness/tingling are symptoms associated with sciatica. It is common for sciatica pain only to affect one side of the body.
6 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief
Stretching is an effective way to reduce your symptoms of sciatica. By loosening tight muscles (especially in the lower back, butt, and the back of the legs), less irritation and inflammation is present to agitate the sciatic nerve.
Stretch #1: Forward Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is excellent for releasing tension in the lower back and is a great stretch for sciatica. There are many variations of the pigeon pose, three of which we will discuss in this article.
- Start on all fours on the floor or a yoga mat
- Take your right leg, and bring it forward and across your body. Your chest and shoulders should remain ahead. Your right knee will be in front of your body, and your right foot will be across your body by the left hip.
- Gradually shift your body weight into your hips (you should feel a stretch in your butt and lower back)
- If possible, you can lean forward with your chest into the pose to get an additional stretch. Hold for at least 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Stretch #2: Sitting Pigeon Pose
Sitting pigeon pose is a great sciatica exercise to release tightness in your hips, glutes, and lower back.
- Start sitting on the floor with your leg in front of you
- Bend your right knee, and place your right ankle near your left knee
- Lean forward with a straight back, moving your chest towards your thighs
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides
Stretch #3: Reclining Pigeon Pose
Reclined pigeon pose is a great gentle stretch for the lower back, hamstrings, and sciatic nerve treatment.
- Start laying on your back on the floor
- Bring your right leg up into the air, making a right angle with your knee and shin
- To hold this pose, clasp your hands around the back of your right thigh
- Bend your left leg across your held right leg, placing your left calf onto your right thigh
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds to help release gluteal muscles that can irritate your sciatic nerve, then alternate to the other side
Stretch #4: Standing Hamstring Stretch
Targeting the hamstring muscles, the standing hamstring stretch is an excellent exercise for sciatica pain relief.
- Stand tall. Place your right leg straight out in front of you, and support it on an ottoman, chair, or another elevated surface.
- Keep your toes flexed straight
- Maintain a slight bend in your left leg and hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds
- Switch legs when done
Stretch #5: Knee to Opposite Shoulder
Similar to the reclining pigeon pose, this stretch is great for releasing tension in the lower back and butt.
- Lay on your back, and bend your right knee, keeping your left leg flat on the floor
- Lift the right knee, bringing the knee to your left shoulder across the body
- Hold the knee in this position with your hand, and gently pull the knee closer to your shoulder for 30 seconds
- Switch sides, and repeat this stretch on each side at least three times
Stretch #6: Sitting Spinal Stretch
This is a great stretch for reducing the pressure on the sciatic nerve caused by the spinal column.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you
- Bend your right knee, and place your right foot flat on the floor on the outside of the left leg
- Place your left elbow on your right knee, and lightly twist until you feel a gentle stretch in your back
- Hold for at least 30 seconds and then alternate to the other side
See a Chiropractor for Your Sciatica
While these at-home stretches are great tools to facilitate healing from sciatica, proper assessment and treatment from a chiropractor is the best way to relieve sciatica pain. Through an in-depth assessment, a chiropractor can identify problem areas in the body leading to inflammation and tension. For more information about the benefits of chiropractic care for sciatica nerve pain, please visit siragusochiropractic.net or call our office at 816-272-3580