An irritated sciatic nerve may be the cause of the hip and lower back pain you’re experiencing. When left unchecked, the pain will spread downwards and affect your limbs and feet. Sciatica is something that 4 out of 10 people suffer at some point in life, and the pain affects your daily routine negatively.
Fortunately, the best sciatica stretches that are effective in relieving pain are pretty straightforward. Some of them are as follows:
Simple Seated Stretch
To perform the simple seated sciatica stretch, do the following:
- Begin by crossing your sore leg over the knee of your other leg while seated on a chair.
- Bend your chest forward while keeping your spine straight. You may keep bending forward a little more as long as you don’t feel any pain.
- Maintain this position for the next 30 seconds.
- Repeat all steps, but this time on your other leg.
Standing Piriformis Stretch
How to perform a standing piriformis stretch:
- Place the leg that’s causing you pain over the knee of your other leg while standing, forming the shape of the number 4.
- Once you’ve settled, lower your hips at a 45-degree angle until they reach the floor. Bend the leg your standing on right after.
- As you bend forward at the waist, reach your arms down to the floor without bending your spine.
- Remain in this position for 30 seconds up to a minute.
- Switch legs, then repeat all the steps.
Groin/Long Adductor Stretch
- Stretch your legs straight out as far apart as possible while sitting on the floor.
- Place your hands on the ground next to the other. Angle your torso forward in the direction of the ground.
- Lean forward and rest your elbows on the floor. Stop at once if you feel pain.
- Remain in this position for 10-20 seconds.
Inner Thigh/Short Adductor Stretch
- Place the soles of your feet together in front of your pelvis.
- Hold your right ankle with your left hand and your left ankle with your right hand.
- Slowly push downward using your knees and attempt to reach the ground with them. If you feel pain, get back a couple of inches and stay in that position.
- Hold for about 30 seconds and then release. Afterward, flap your legs in that position like a butterfly for another 30 seconds.
To achieve a deeper stretch, lean your torso forward or push your knees down using your elbows while keeping your back straight.
Supine Piriformis Stretch
One of the most common sciatica stretches to relieve pain caused by piriformis syndrome is the supine piriformis stretch. You can perform it by following these simple steps:
- Start by lying on your back with your legs extended.
- Bring the affected leg across your body with your foot flat on the ground, outside of the opposite knee.
- Take the opposite arm to your knee and gently draw it across the midline of your body.
- Hold the position for about 30 seconds or until a stretch is felt. Keep in mind not to lift your hip up off the ground while performing this stretch.
- Take care not to stretch beyond where you’re comfortable as you work your way up to performing three of these per set.
- Pay attention to your breathing. If slow and steady, hold the position for ten more seconds. It’s imperative to make sure that if you feel any pain, discomfort, or even pinching, stop doing the stretch at once and seek medical advice before going at it again.
- Slowly come out of the stretch once you’re finished.
Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch
Relieve sciatica by doing the outer hip piriformis stretch. To perform:
- Bend your sore leg upward while lying on your back. Then, place your foot near the back of your other knee.
- Tuck your foot behind the knee and twist your leg going to the opposite side. Make sure that your knee is touching or as close to the ground as possible.
- Place your hand on the opposite knee and raise your opposite arm in the air.
- Hold this for at least 20 seconds, then do the same to the other leg.
After performing this stretch, you’d want to do these steps to recover. Lie on your back, bend your knees together, and gently pull them with your hands toward your chest.
- Lie on your side that isn’t in pain with your legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
- Rest your head on your lower arm and steady your frame using your other arm. Ensure that your hipbones are stacked on top of the other to prevent the top hip from rocking backward.
- Pull your belly button in as it helps stabilize your spine and pelvis.
- With your feet together, lift the top knee while maintaining the original position of the rest of your body.
- Bring back your knee to its original position.
- Repeat the steps 15 times.
Buttocks Stretch for the Piriformis Muscle
- Get into position on all fours by putting your knees and hands on the ground.
- Place the foot of your affected leg beneath your stomach. Twist it toward to opposite side near your hip while pointing using your knee toward the shoulder.
- Lower your head until your forehead reaches the floor. Then, lean on the ground for support using your forearms.
- Carefully stretch the non-affected leg out behind you. Ensure your pelvis remains straight while doing this.
- Push your hips a bit toward the floor.
- Hold for about 30 seconds before returning to your original position. Repeat the steps 2-3 times.
- Get on the ground on all fours. Make sure your hands are aligned with your shoulders.
- Tilt your weight off the affected leg and raise it upward with your knee bent toward the ceiling.
- Carefully lower your leg and go back to your initial position.
- Repeat the steps 15 times.
Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
- Lie down with your knees bent upwards.
- While bending it upwards toward your chest, cross the affected leg over to the other leg.
- Grab your knee with one hand and use the other to hold your ankle. Slowly pull toward your shoulder, which is in line with your ankle. Do this until you feel a stretch through the glutes in your buttock.
- Hold for 30 seconds up to a minute before you release.
Keep in mind that you mustn’t feel so much as a pinch in front of your thigh. If you encounter such, work on stretching your hip flexors first. If you don’t feel a stretch in the glutes, cross your legs like in the second step. Then, pull the leg sitting on the floor by grabbing behind your thigh and pulling your leg toward your chest.
In many instances, you can address piriformis issues by following the steps we listed.
While proven safe as they’re effective, it’s always best to seek professional advice, especially if you feel pain while doing sciatica stretches on this list.
Doing that will enable you to understand the problem better, including its root cause, and address the concern completely once and for all.