6 Simple Exercises to Help Get Rid of Sciatic Nerve Pain

17 February, 2020
You'll need to adapt the intensity of these exercises to how strong your sciatic nerve pain is. If you're not used to them, gradually move from low to high intensity to prevent an adverse reaction.

The sciatic nerve extends from the lower back down to the leg and is considered to be the largest and longest nerve in the body.

When it becomes irritated by compressed discs, the patient develops a condition known as sciatica, which is characterized by extreme pain.

Bad posture and a sedentary lifestyle, as well as physical overexertion, can be possible causes of sciatic nerve pain. However, in rare cases, it can be a symptom of conditions such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.

Because of the difficulties this produces in movement, some people think that rest is the best way to relieve pain.

However, certain physical exercises have been proven to be effective therapies for reducing sciatic nerve pain.

Exercise promotes the flow and exchange of fluids and nutrients within the spinal discs. This keeps everything in good shape, thus avoiding too much pressure on the affected area.

Today, we’d like to share with you 6 of the simplest exercises to keep in mind at the first sign of pain.

Read this article too: Calm Sciatic Pain with These 5 Natural Remedies

1. Back Exercises

Back exercises can help relieve sciatic nerve pain.

Back stretches specifically help alleviate sciatic pain centered in the lumbar area.  

These simple movements reduce tension and stimulate both muscle and nerve lubrication to help them function correctly.

How to Do Them

  • Stand with your feet together and your back straight.
  • Then stretching your arms forward, slowly lean forward until your head is in front of your knees, with your back curved.
  • While inhaling and exhaling, repeat 8 to 10 times.

2. Leg Exercises

crossing legs

These leg movements not only stretch the piriformis muscles but also reduce discomfort associated with sciatic pain.

How to Do Them

  • Lie down on your back on a yoga mat. Try to find a comfortable, stable position.
  • Then bend your knees, and cross one leg over the other.
  • Hold the back of your other leg, and try to bring both knees toward your chest.
  • After that, stretch back on the ground, relax your legs, and switch positions with your other leg.
  • Repeat 5 to 8 times.

3. Seated Stretches

woman stretching

This exercise alleviates sciatic pain because it reduces tension in the lower back, glutes and legs. Plus, according to this study carried out by the University of Malaga (Spain), stretching can also help to prevent future injuries when exercising.

Check out this article too: Four Stretches That Will Help Correct Your Posture

How to Do Them

  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out, and make sure to keep your back straight.
  • Keeping your left leg as straight as possible, cross your right leg over your left one.
  • Grab your right knee with your left arm, as if bringing it in for a hug.
  • Hold the posture for 30 to 40 seconds; then rest.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Lumbar Exercises

lumbar exercise

Remember these exercises for any type of lumbar pain. They reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve and therefore create a sense of relief.

How to Do Them

  • On a yoga mat, lie face up, and stretch your arms to the side, with your palms on the floor.
  • Then bring your knees together, and begin to lower them down toward your right side. Make sure not to bend your torso during the movement.
  • Then return to center, and lower them to the left side.
  • Hold the posture for a few seconds on each side, and repeat back and forth.

5. Leg Stretches

pigeon pose

These leg stretches are known as the pigeon pose in yoga and are interesting because not only do they work your leg muscles but also they tone your glutes, relieve back tension and flatten your belly.

How to Do Them

  • Sit down with your back straight, facing forward. Stretch out your left leg behind you, then bend your right leg forward.
  • Support yourself using the palms of your hands, and briefly stretch, without bending your back.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest; then repeat with your other leg.

6. Golf Ball Exercises

In order to carry out this alternative treatment, you’ll need to use a golf ball.

Locate the specific area of pain in your glutes, which is where you should place the golf ball.

How to Do Them

  • Once you’ve located the pain, place the golf ball there and relax your body onto it.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds; then rest.

Each one of these positions and exercises can be wonderful therapy for pain, but only when performed correctly. If in doubt, consult a physical trainer.

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  • Gore S, Nadkarni S. Sciatica: detection and confirmation by new method. Int J Spine Surg. 2014;8:15. Published 2014 Dec 1. doi:10.14444/1015
  • Gordon R, Bloxham S. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain. Healthcare (Basel). 2016;4(2):22. Published 2016 Apr 25. doi:10.3390/healthcare4020022
  • Dreisinger TE. Exercise in the management of chronic back pain. Ochsner J. 2014;14(1):101–107.