What is the Sciatic Nerve?

Sciatic nerve pain can be so excruciating and incapacitating that you don’t even want to leave the couch. Common causes of sciatica can consist of a burst disk, a constricting of the spine canal called spine stenosis, and injury.

The sciatic nerve runs down the spine and branches off, like a zipper, down the legs. The discomfort of pressure on the sciatic can seem like sharp shocks running down your leg (usually just one at a time) or nagging lower neck and back pain. In some cases people experience pins and needles or tingling in the leg, too.

Qualified physical therapist Mindy Marantz says that sciatica pain can occur for a range of factors. She says, “Identifying ‘exactly what does not move’ is the primary step towards solving the problem.” Frequently, the most bothersome body parts are the lower back and hips.

Dr. Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning professional, adds that the best way to reduce most sciatica pain is to do “any stretch that can externally turn the hip to provide some relief.”

Here are six exercises that do simply that.

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose is a typical yoga posture It works to broadly open the hips. There are numerous versions of this stretch. The first is a starting variation of the pigeon present, referred to as the reclining pigeon position If you are just beginning your treatment, you should attempt the reclining posture initially. When you can do the reclining variation without pain, deal with your physical therapist on the sitting and forward versions.

Reclining Position

Reclining pose

1. While on the back, bring your right upper hand to a best angle and understand it with both hands behind the thigh, locking your fingers.

2. Take your left leg and place your ankle against the knee. Hold the position for a moment before altering legs. This assists extend the tiny piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes swollen and presses versus the sciatic nerve triggering pain.

3. Repeat by switching sides and doing the same workout with the other leg.

Sitting Pose

Sitting pose

1. Rest on the floor with your legs extended directly in front of you. Then bend your ideal leg, putting your right ankle on top of the left knee.

2. Lean forward and allow your upper body to lean toward your thigh. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then change sides. This extends the glutes and lower back.

Forward Pose

Forward pose

1. Kneel on the floor on all fours.

2. Pick up your right leg and move it forward so that your lower leg is on the ground, horizontal to the body. Your ideal foot must be in front of your right knee while your right knee remains to the.

3. Stretch the left leg out all the way behind you on the floor, with the top of the foot on the ground and toes pointing back.

4. Shift your body weight gradually from your arms to your legs so that your legs are supporting your weight. Sit up directly with your hands on either side of your legs.

5. Take a deep breath. While exhaling, lean your upper body forward over your lower leg.

Assistance your weight with your arms as much as possible.

Knee to Opposite Shoulder

Knee to opposite shoulder

This basic stretch helps alleviate sciatica pain by loosening your gluteal and piriformis muscles, which can end up being irritated and press against the sciatic nerve.

1. Lie on your back with your legs extended outside and your feet bent upward.

2. Clasp your hands around your knee and gently pull your best leg across your body towards your left shoulder. Hold it there for 30 seconds then press your knee so your leg returns to its starting position.

3. Repeat for a total of 3 representatives, and after that change legs. Remember to just pull your knee as far as it will easily go. You should feel an alleviating stretch in your muscle, not pain.

Sitting Spinal Stretch

Sitting spinal stretch

Sciatica pain is activated when vertebrae in the spine compress. This stretch helps produce area in the spinal column to eliminate pressure from the sciatic nerve.

1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight out with your feet flexed up.

2. Bend your right knee and location your foot flat on the floor on the outside of your opposite knee.

3. Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to help you gently turn your body toward the right. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times, then perform this stretch with your left leg bent and body relied on the left side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Standing hamstring stretch

This stretch can help reduce discomfort and tightness in the hamstring caused by sciatica.

1. Place your ideal foot on a raised surface at or below your hip level. This could be a chair, ottoman, or step on a staircase. Flex your foot so your toes and leg are straight. If your knee has the tendency to hyperextend, keep a minor bend in it.

2. Bend your body forward somewhat towards your foot. The further you go, the much deeper the stretch. Do not push up until now that you feel discomfort.

3. Launch the hip of your raised leg downward rather than it raising. If you need assistance alleviating your hip down, loop a yoga strap or long exercise band over your right thigh and under your left foot. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Exercise With Care

Kovacs emphasizes that you ought to not presume that you will be able to be as flexible as the workouts ideally call for. “Do not think that because of what you see on YouTube or TV that you can get into these positions,” he said. “The majority of people who demonstrate the exercises have terrific flexibility and have been doing it for many years. If you have any kind of discomfort, you ought to stop.”

Corina Martinez, a physical therapist at Duke Sports Medicine Center and a member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medication, states that there is no one-size-fits-all exercise for individuals suffering from sciatic nerve pain. “Do you feel better when you bring your knees to the chest, or when they extend back a little bit more? If one feels better, that is the treatment you wish to pursue.”

Martinez states that anybody experiencing even moderate sciatic nerve discomfort symptoms for more than a month should see a medical professional or physiotherapist. They might discover relief with an at home workout program tailored specifically to how their pain emerges.

The first line of intervention for sciatica should definitely be physical therapy because it is active, it is educational, and the primary goal is to restore function and make each patient independent.
The clue is to find experienced, manual trained physical therapists who combine an understanding of alignment, movement, and therapeutic exercise, and who set up a clear plan of care to reach measurable goals. After that, what’s left is to actively participate in the program!”  Mindy Marantz, PT, MS, GCFP

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