Sciatic pain isn’t something you understand well until you’ve had a bout of it. It can sideline you. Causing intense pain down the back of (usually) one leg, the intense immobilizing pain is provoked by the sciatic nerve.
This bad boy is the largest nerve in the body, originating the lower back, where it splits in two to run down the back of both legs.
When sciatic pain strikes, there’s more you can do than just sit and wait for it to subside. Let’s review some quick exercises to reduce sciatic pain. Stretching is the best way to find relief from sciatic pain.
Lying on the floor face down, raise your upper body, resting it on your forearms. Your shoulders should be directly over your elbows. Your legs are straight, stretched out behind you.
Look at the floor and keep your neck in a straight position, with shoulders down. Next, push up, engaging your abdominal muscles. Think “Sphinx”. This will stretch your back and core. Hold for 5 to 10, then return to the start position and repeat 10 times.
Pro tips: Don’t allow your head to drift either forward or backward, as you perform the stretch. Make sure your hips are square with the floor and are both touching it.
Standing up, use a stable object like a block or step to place one leg on. Your leg should be straight, with foot flexed.
Next, lean forward, making sure to keep your back straight. Hold for between 20 and 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Perform 3 of these stretches on each side.
Lying on your back, bend your knees, with your feet flat on the floor. Next, place the foot of your right leg on your left thigh, near the knee.
Lacing your fingers behind your left thigh, gently guide it towards your abdomen. As you do so, engage your abdominal muscles, to keep your lower back on the floor. This will produce a stretch in the right buttock.
Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.
Note: If you’re unable to lace your fingers behind your thigh, use a towel to help.
Knee to Chest Stretch
Lying on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Your upper body should be relaxed, and your chin tucked into your chest.
Lace your fingers around your shin, just under the right knee and gently pull it towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Perform 3 repetitions on each side.
Doing these stretches every day will go a long way to improving your sciatic pain. While you’re performing these movements, you’re taking pressure off the sciatic nerve. Add activities like Yoga, swimming or walking to build yourself up, while you’re helping your body heal.
If you find that your pain is still with you after several weeks, or that the pain is too severe to do these stretches, please see your doctor.
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