What Is Sciatica Pain?
Also referred to as Lumbar Radiculopathy, sciatica pain is a resultant symptom due to the compression of the sciatic nerve. This compression causes the pain to radiate from the lower back to the hips continuing to the outer side of the leg. This is commonly seen in males and affects those between the ages between 18 and 35. Since the pain is persistent and causes discomfort in movement and resting positions, urgent medical care is recommended. A wide range of causes can be listed for sciatica pain including slipped disc, pregnancy, piriformis syndrome, lumbar spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. A renowned performance expert, Mark Kovacs suggests exercises and stretching that allow complete hip rotation to relieve the symptoms of sciatica pain.
10 Stretches To Relieve Sciatica Pain
So why don’t we get into position and try these exercises which are beneficial for all especially individuals drowning in sciatica pain!
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
As the name suggests, the pose imitates the shape of a baby creating a curvature of the spine similar to it. This pose helps to relieve the tension in the back muscles, stretches your spine, helps to open up your hips, and strengthens them.
- First, sit on the legs which are folded back with closed knees. Inhale and exhale a few times.
- Come up to your hands and knees. Now, with the arms out in front of you, stretch them and push back our hips.
- The final position will consist of hands stretched out in front of you, head facing the ground, and hips touching your heels.
- Now, slowly inhale and exhale in the same position for up to 2 to 5 minutes
- To repeat, you can come up to the hands and knees, relax and sit back for a second stretch.
2. Knees to shoulder stretch
This action can strengthen your glutes and relieve sciatica pain by strengthening those muscles.
- Lay down on the mat on your back and relax with your hands by your side. Take a few deep breaths.
- Now, with a tight core, bring the right leg to the chest while keeping the left leg stable. Hold the right leg with your hands.
- Hold the position while breathing slowly for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Let go of the right leg and repeat the same with the left leg.
- Now, bring both legs to the chest and wrap your hands around them taking in deep breaths for 30 seconds
- Let go and relax in the initial position
3. Outer Hip Stretch
It is commonly known as the Reclining Pigeon Pose and helps to strengthen the lower back muscles and focuses on the piriformis muscles.
- Lay down on your back and lift the left leg to a right angle
- Place your hands behind the left leg and interlock your fingers.
- Finally, bring your right leg and place it horizontally on the thigh of the right leg.
- Hold this position and continue taking long and deep breaths.
- Repeat with the other leg and continue for 3 minutes.
4. Long Adductor Stretch
This stretches your spine and outer hips essentially making a wonderful lower body stretch. It also helps to strengthen the inner thighs and groin region.
- Sit on the mat and straighten the spine
- Spread out the legs and place your palms in between the legs
- Start moving your torso down until you can rest on your elbows on the ground. Do this only until you feel the stretch and not the pain.
- Stay and breathe for 30 seconds. Come back up and repeat again
5. Downward Facing Dog
This stretch focuses on channeling the strength towards your shoulders, legs, and lower back. It can help correct the body posture as well.
- Come up to your hands and knees.
- Apply pressure on the fingertips and palms to push yourself up (pressure must not be applied on the wrist. This can result in injury)
- Push up the hips and align the head with the upper arm
- Push out your chest towards your thighs.
- Now try to touch the heels to the ground. You can bend your knees to ease the pressure
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Come back down and repeat.
6. Cobra Pose
Famous for its ability to increase flexibility, this pose can channel the energy as well as body fluids in the right path if done consistently.
- Lay down on your stomach and place your palms just beneath your shoulders.
- Now, gently push up the upper body. Here, the elbows must not be straight. They should be bent and squeezed towards your body
- Do not lift the hips and stay in this position for about 30 seconds while breathing slowly and steadily.
- Come back down and repeat the process for 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Bridge Pose
One of the poses that can alleviate tension in the spine and lower back while working on the core muscles is the bridge pose. It has tremendous effects on the glutes, butt, and thighs as well.
- Lay on your back and bend the feet perpendicular to the hips.
- With the palms facing down, place your arms beside your body
- Raise your hips as high as possible according to the extent to which you can do it.
- Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and lower back down. Repeat the process for 2 minutes
8. Forward Pigeon Pose
This might be a little on the intermediate side since it allows the opening of hips and stretching your leg muscles as much as they can.
- From the hands-knees position, bring your left knee to the front and place it horizontally with the left foot right above the right knee.
- Now stretch the other leg outwards as much as possible.
- Sit and face forward while breathing slowly.
- Finally, lower your torso and stretch out your arms in the front.
- Stay in this position for about a minute and come back up slowly. Repeat with the right leg.
9. Seated Chair Stretch
It helps to open up the hips with the help of your chair. This can help you when working while sitting in the same position for a long time.
- Sit up straight and stretch your spine.
- Bring up the right foot and place it on the left knee.
- Hold the right foot and right knee with each hand
- Now, with a straight back, bend forward and pulse.
- Continue this movement for about 2 minutes on each leg.
10. Standing Back Stretch
To perform this stretch it is better to take the support of a wall if you are not able to balance yourself. It stretched your hamstrings and lower back to give a soothing effect for those with sciatica pain.
- Stand straight and pick the leg which is uncomfortable and place it on the knee of the other leg.
- Balance on the standing leg and lower your hips to create the number 4 with your legs.
- If you are stable, you can bend even more and hang your arms to complete the stretch.
- Hold this pose for about 30 seconds and come back up.
Stretches are many and their variations are infinite. Results can be obtained with consistent stretching after consulting a doctor. This can help in alleviating the symptoms and strengthening your muscles.