What Is Sciatic Pain?
Sciatica is a nerve pain caused by an injury or burning in the sciatic nerve, which develops in your buttock/gluteal region. In general, sciatica pain affects only one part of the body.
A person with ‘sciatica’ may experience mild to severe pain anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve, that is, anywhere from the lower back, hips, buttocks, and/or the bottom of your legs.
In the words of Dr. Tanveer Bhutani of Eva Hospital “the best thing to relieve from the sciatica pain is to do some stretching that can help external rotation of the hip to have some relief.”
Exercise and Stretching to Relieve Sciatica Nerve Pain
An irritable sciatic nerve can send burning, stinging, or shooting pains through your nostrils and under the affected leg. Ask your doctor about various methods of pain relief as well as physical therapy.
Certain exercises and stretches at home can help to strengthen the weak postural muscles and reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve to ease the pain.
Exercise helps relieve sciatica caused by the following changes of tissues:
- Increased blood flow
- Decreased stiffness of sciatic nerve
- Increase in muscle strength
- Nutritious backbone
- Improving bone health
Always consult a physician or physical therapist before attempting these exercises.
- Prone Leg Raise
This exercise helps in increasing the strength of the lower back.
Lie on your stomach with your arms on your sides and palms up, keeping your head slightly elevated, in a straight line from your spine.
Don’t twist your chin. Lift your legs a few inches off the mat, while keeping your legs straight. Hold on for as long as possible and also repeat on the other side.
- Warrior Pose
This yoga pose helps in increasing the flexibility in the lower back and thighs.
Stand with your left foot slightly outward on a mat with shoulder-width apart feet, then move forward with your right foot.
Move forward as much as you can, keeping your right knee straight on your ankle, as you do a standing lunge.
Bend your head back, bringing your palms together, raising your arms above your chest to the sky. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing deeply and exhaling. Repeat on the other side.
- Lying Glute Stretch
It helps to enlarge the piriformis muscle and reduces pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Lie on your back, and lift one leg up and bring it to the opposite knee. On the thigh keep your ankle for rest.
Grab the bottom thigh with your hands and slowly pull it towards your head. Keep your spine pressed against the floor.
Hold for a deep breath for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Do this stretch several times.
- Knee-to-Chest Stretch
It is helpful to relax the muscles of the lower back and legs to lessen pressure on pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Lie on the mat on your back. Bend both knees, gradually bring one knee to your chest, then grab your knee with both hands and slowly pull it towards you.
Take a deep breath and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times on each side and after this try to bring both the knees towards the chest and hold them for a few seconds. Repeat five times.
- Sciatic Stretch
It increases the flexibility in the muscles around the sciatic nerve.
Lie on your back with both knees bent so that the knees are facing up and the feet are flat on the floor. Keep your back flat on the floor.
Keep your back flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest, then hold your thigh with both hands, keeping your feet in place and slowly pushing your heel towards the sky.
Hold for 30 seconds or as long as you are comfortable. Do the same with the other.
See Also: Tips For Strengthening The Weak Ankles
- Pelvic Tilt
It helps to strengthen the muscles of the lower back, glutes, and lower abdomen.
Lie on your back on a mat, legs bent and arms at your sides. Tighten the abdominal muscles, keep the back against the floor.
Hold the position as you exhale for 5 to 10 seconds while tilting the hips and pelvis slightly upward.
Leave the position and rest for a few seconds, and repeat. Aim for 10 or more repetitions to start growing slowly.
- Half Lord of the Fishes Yoga Pose
It can be helpful to reduce pain in the buttocks.
Sit on a mat and have your legs spread out in front of you and your hands flat on the mat behind your hips. Bend your left leg and bring the heel closer to the inverted buttock.
Cross your right leg over the left, and bring out the foot outside the left thigh. While rotating your trunk to the right, rest your left upper arm on the right thigh.
Gently press your trunk to the right and hold for 15-20 seconds. Do the same on the other side.
- Extension Exercise
This exercise can be useful for sciatica pain in the lower part of the spine.
Lie on your stomach, bend your elbows to your sides and stretch your hands, palms down, draw your stomach in.
Slowly lift your chest up while pressing down on your forearms and elbows.
Raise as high as you can and hold for a few seconds while inhaling. Do 5 to 10 repetitions. Doing this exercise several times every day gives the best results.
Sciatic nerve pain is a condition that can be very painful. But exercise and stretching can do wonders in relieving your pain.
Consult Dr. Tanveer Bhutani, a highly qualified orthopedic doctor. He can help you to understand how these stretches can be helpful and how you should do them.