Sciatic Nerve Pain? Do These Stretches to Feel Better

Certain exercises and stretches can be effective in preventing and relieving sciatic nerve pain. We'll tell you some common symptoms of this pain, as well as stretches to feel better, in this article.
Sciatic Nerve Pain? Do These Stretches to Feel Better

Last update: 06 May, 2021

Sciatic nerve pain is a common issue. Generally, it’s caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lumbar area and goes down the legs. To relieve sciatic nerve pain, we’ll show you some very effective exercises and stretches that you can easily do at home.

Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Pain

This issue starts with leg pain that may resemble cramps. The pain can be intense, like a strong injury in the glutes that spreads down the leg and even to the foot.

A man with lower back pain.

In some patients, it only happens when standing or sitting. However, it can also have strange symptoms, like tingling or muscle weakness.

Additionally, one of the most common causes of sciatic pain is compression of the sciatic nerve roots in the lower back. This can happen because of a herniated disc, degeneration of the spine, or inflammation.

In any case, it might be due to nerve irritation somewhere in your pelvis, like in piriformis syndrome.

If you have problems in addition to the sciatic nerve pain like incontinence (fecal or urinary) and numbness in your pelvic area, seek medical help immediately.

Exercises to Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain

There are many exercises to strengthen and improve trunk stability. In fact, practicing these exercises often can help you prevent and treat sciatic nerve pain. These are some of the most common.

1. The bridge

Woman performing the bridge exercise.
The bridge is useful for scoliosis and can be performed in the home environment.
  • First, lie on your back and bend your legs with your heels on the floor. Put your arms to the sides of your body.
  • Then, inhale, and as you exhale, squeeze your buttocks and raise your hips. Exhale as you raise your hips up, and inhale again when you lower your trunk back to the ground.
  • Finally, repeat the exercise when you exhale again.

2. Sit-ups and oblique exercises

To work the rectus abdominis muslces: 

  • Then, raise your chest to your legs.
  • You should exhale during the exercise, then inhale when resting your back on the floor again.

Note: if you’re pregnant, we recommend that you don’t do this exercise. Consult a specialized physiotherapist/kinesiologist.

To work your obliques:

  • First, lie on your back and bend your knees while resting your feet on the floor.
  • Then, cross your arms and legs while bringing your legs to the left side of your body.
  • Next, bring your legs to the center, then to the right, and repeat.

Stretches to Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain

A woman stretching on the pier.

1. Knees to Your Chest

This is one of the most common stretches to relieve sciatic nerve pain.

  • First, lie down with your back on the floor.
  • Then, flex your legs and place your feet on the ground. Raise your right leg to a 90º angle.
  • Now, bend your left leg and support your foot on your right knee. Hold your right knee with your hands and pull it towards you.
  • You’ll feel the stretch in your back and lower back.

2. Lumbar Stretches

  • First, kneel on the floor and keep your back straight. Then, sit on your feet and rest your buttocks on your legs.
  • Bring your back and trunk down slowly with your arms stretched out. Then, place your forehead on the floor and stretch your arms forward.
  • This is a very deep stretch. Remember, it’s important to breathe slowly to release the tension that has built up.

The experts at MedlinePlus point out that since sciatica is a symptom of another condition, there’s no treatment for sciatica as such. Instead, there are treatments for the various underlying causes.

There are cases in which no treatment is necessary, as recovery occurs on its own.

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  • Díez García, M.A., Beika Mentxaca, I., and Heerrero Erquíñigo, J.L. (2003). Lumbalgia y ciática. Farmacia Profesional 17, 66–74.
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