If you are suffering from chronic sciatica pain, you may find that gentle exercise and stretch on a daily basis can help to provide some pain relief. Sciatica is a symptom characterized by pain that travels down the sciatic nerve, which runs down the spine and branches off into the back of the legs. Sciatica pain may be accompanied by sensations of tinging, numbness or weakness. It is often associated with an underlying medical condition, such as a lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis. The pain may be intermittent or constant, mild or severe.
Though sciatica nerve pain can be difficult to cope with, below are several exercises that can help you to manage it and relieve its intensity. Pay attention that exercises are only permitted under the guidance of a physical therapist.
Pigeon pose is a common yoga position that can help to stretch out the hips and relieve pain. Start in a downward dog position, with your hands and feet on the floor and your hips stretched toward the ceiling. Carefully bring your right leg forward and rest it between your hands. Then, move your right foot toward your left hand and slowly bring your right knee toward the floor. Your right leg should be bent at a 90-degree angle, with your calf parallel to your hips. When you are in a comfortable position, rest your head on your right knee. It is important not to stretch too far. If you find it difficult to lower down to the floor, you can place a block under your forward hip for support. After 30 seconds of stretching, carefully raise yourself back into a downward dog position and repeat the exercise on your left side.
Hip stretching is an exercise that may help with your symptoms. You can easily perform this stretch in a comfortable seated position. Sit with your back straight and your legs extended in front of you. Bring your right knee up toward your chest, bend your right leg and place your right foot over your extended left leg, so that your bent right leg is resting in a triangle position in front of you. Raise your arms over your head, gently twist toward the right side of your body, and lower your arms so that your left arm rests on the right side of your right leg. If it feels comfortable for you, you may gently move your torso further to the right to extend the twist. After 30 seconds, gently release your torso back toward your center, extend your right leg and repeat the stretch on your left side.
Hamstring stretches may also release the tension caused by sciatica as the sciatica nerves run down the back of the legs. One simple hamstring stretch may be performed by standing up straight, elevating one foot in front of you and resting it on an object that is about hip distance from the floor. It is important not to raise your foot higher than your hip. The tops of your foot and leg should face toward the ceiling. They should not be extended outward. One your extended leg is in position, put your hands on top of your extended thigh and gently apply downward pressure, until you can feel a nice stretch in your hamstring. Be careful not to overstretch, because that could actually aggravate your sciatica. Once you have stretched one leg for about 30 seconds, release it to the floor and repeat the exercise with your other leg.
These three stretches can help you release tension and relieve sciatica pain in your buttocks, hips and legs. For best results, practice these exercises for sciatica pain relief in addition to the basic treatment.