For anyone who has experienced sciatic nerve pain, you know the pain can be excruciating and debilitating. Everyday tasks like driving or standing can bring extreme discomfort. Sciatica describes pain that radiates down the back of the thigh and into the lower leg. A tight lower back can worsen the pain along your sciatic nerve.
Incorporating some gentle sciatica stretches that target the lower back and hips can help reduce sciatica pain and improve range of motion. In addition to decreasing the pain and tightness, the stretches can also help build strength and stability in your lower spine and legs while preventing future recurrences of sciatica.
Best Stretches for Sciatica Pain
Reclining Pigeon Pose:
- Lying on your back, bring your leg up, clasping both hands behind the thigh. Hold the pose while feeling a slight stretch up and down the leg.
- Lift your left leg and place your right ankle on top of the left knee.
- Try a sitting or forward version of the pigeon pose once you can do the reclining version without pain.
Sciatic Nerve Glide Exercise:
- Take a seated position, use a chair with good support, straighten one knee while keeping your other foot flat on the floor.
- Slowly begin to flex your foot, from pointing your toes straight to bringing them back towards you.
- Without inducing pain, try to put more tension on the sciatic nerve, do the same nerve glide with your leg out and feet forward but add bending your head forward while bringing your chin toward your chest.
Back Flexion Stretch:
- Find a comfortable position on the floor and lie on your back.
- Slowly and gently bring both of your knees to your chest until you feel a slight stretch in your lower back.
- Slowly bring your chin to your chest while holding the stretch for a comfortable amount of time.
Building core strength while increasing flexibility in your hips and lower body can reduce sciatic pain. Try these stretches when experiencing a flare-up and prevent future recurrences of sciatica. If suffering from sciatica symptoms and not finding relief with gentle stretches and time, it may be beneficial to schedule an appointment with a spine doctor to get to the root cause of your pain.
Dr. Payam Moazzaz specializes in advanced minimally invasive spine surgery that enables faster recovery and return to active lifestyles. For all appointments, call (760) 904 5444.