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Sciatica Stretches: Five Easy Exercises for Pain Relief

Sciatica isn’t a medical condition but a symptom that results from many possible problems with your hips, pelvis, or back. If you have sciatica, you may experience pain that runs through your hips and travels down the back of your leg.
A sciatic nerve stretch

It is quite unpleasant but can be eased — and even prevented — with the help of some simple stretching exercises. Keep reading to learn how to incorporate sciatica stretches into your daily routine.

Sciatica stretches: how helpful are they?

The sciatic nerve travels from your lower spine into the hips and down through your legs into your feet. It supplies strength and sensation to the muscles of your foot and leg. Sciatica can occur when the nerve gets pinched by a tightened or inflamed muscle (for instance the piriformis in your butt) or a bulging or herniated disc in your back

Issues related to the structure of the spine and pelvis, such as spondylolisthesis or stenosis, can also trigger sciatica. 

Sciatic nerve stretches help improve your posture, reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve. It can also help relieve pain and improve your flexibility and strength. You should aim to do these stretches for your sciatic nerve every day along with other exercises such as walking, yoga, or swimming. Your pain should start getting better within two weeks and completely go away in four to six weeks. 

How does sciatic nerve relief work?

Some stretches for sciatica work by opening the hips, reducing the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Some of these sciatic nerve exercises help relieve sciatica pain by loosening the piriformis and gluteal muscles (muscles in the butt), which can get inflamed and press or pinch the sciatic nerve.

Spinal vertebrae compression can also trigger sciatica pain. Some of the stretches for sciatic nerve pain can help create space in your spine and take pressure off the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve stretches can also help relieve tightness and pain in your hamstring muscles. 

Five easy sciatic nerve exercises 

Most people with sciatica find relief from stretching. But if you have sciatica, make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any stretches for sciatica to avoid further injury. Let’s discuss five easy sciatica stretches that you can do at home daily. 

Knee to shoulder

Knee to shoulder - a sciatic nerve exercise
  • Extend your legs while lying on your back.
  • Bend your right leg and hold your knee with both hands.
  • Pull your right leg gently across your body toward your left shoulder. Don’t lift your hips off the ground. 
  • Stay in this position for about 30 seconds then release.
  • Repeat on the other side. Perform three repetitions of this sciatic nerve exercise on each side. 

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  • Put your right hill on a raised surface below the level of your hip. The surface can be a chair, table, or ottoman. 
  • Keeping your knee straight, bend forward at your waist. You will experience a stretch in the back of your leg. While you are bending forward, keep your spine straight. 
  • Stay in this position for about 30 seconds then release.
  • Repeat with your left leg. Perform three repetitions of this sciatic nerve stretch on each leg. 
  • Sit with your legs extended out in front of you. 
  • Bending your right leg at the knee, put your right foot on the ground on the outer side of your left knee. 
  • Now twist at the waist towards the knee that is bent. Place your left elbow (opposite elbow) on the outer side of your right knee (bent knee). This provides a deeper stretch. 
  • Stay in this position for around 15 to 30 seconds and release. 
  • Repeat the same pose on your other side. Perform three repetitions of this sciatic nerve stretch on each side. 
  • Sit and extend your legs in front of you.
  • Bend your right leg and put your right ankle over your left knee.
  • Lean forward. Your upper body should reach towards your thigh.
  • Stay in this position for about 20 to 30 seconds. This pose stretches your lower back and glutes.
  • Release the pose. Repeat the same pose on your other side. Perform three repetitions of this sciatic nerve exercise on each side. 
  • Kneel on the ground on all fours.
  • Pick up your right leg and bring it forward in front of your body. Lay your lower leg on the floor, horizontal to your body. Your right knee should be bending out to the right while your right foot stays in front of your left knee.
  • Stretch your left leg behind you on the ground, keeping your foot on the floor and toes pointing backward.
  • Gradually shift the weight of your body from your arms to your legs. Sit up straight with your hands placed on either side of your legs.
  • Inhale deeply. When exhaling, lean your upper body forward over your front leg. Support your body weight with your arms.
  • Repeat this pose on your other side. Perform three repetitions of this sciatic nerve exercise on each side. 

Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated after doing sciatica stretches. 

Sciatica isn’t a medical condition but a symptom of many possible problems in your back, pelvis, or hips. It is quite unpleasant and uncomfortable, but you can get relief from it by doing some simple sciatica stretches at home.

Stretches for sciatica nerve pain help improve your posture and take pressure off the sciatic nerve. They also improve your flexibility and strength. By doing sciatic nerve stretches every day, your pain may start getting better within two weeks and completely go away after four to six weeks.

Five easy sciatic nerve exercises include knee to shoulder, standing hamstring stretch, seated spinal twist, sitting pigeon, and forward pigeon. You can include these sciatica stretches in your daily routine to relieve your sciatica pain. Remember that it's important to your doctor before starting them to avoid further injury.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercises-for-sciatica/

https://www.healthline.com/health/back-pain/sciatic-stretches

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317920.php

https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/treatment-for-sciatica

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