Sciatica can cause pain in the butt, literally. It’s the most common term used to describe the condition known as lumbar radiculopathy. It’s that causes compressing the sciatic nerve which runs across in the lower back to into the back of the leg and hip. The compression of the sciatic nerve may cause pain that is located in any part of this path or spreads throughout the body, as per Libby Bergman, DPT, OCS Physical orthopaedic clinical specialist. The condition can make routine moves uncomfortable to not mention uncomfortable. However, there are easy exercises to treat sciatica you can practice at home at home to relieve symptoms.

“Sciatica is typically caused by disc herniation as well as age-related changes to the lumbar spine which is also known as”the lower back,” Dr. Bergman says. “The most common signs and symptoms are seen with predictable patterns that are seen in the lower part of the body. They can manifest as changes in sensation, the sensation of numbness, pain or even loss of leg strength in extreme instances.”

While many suffer from pain from the low back which radiates down the leg assume that it’s sciatica but Doctor. Bergman says that sciatica isn’t the only thing that could cause these symptoms. “Thus it’s important to conduct a thorough physical exam by a physical therapist is vital for obtaining the most precise diagnosis and treatment program,” she advises.

Who are prone to sciatica?

Although Doctor. Bergman says that sciatica can be a problem for anyone at every age “in the general sense, younger people are more at risk of sciatica because of disc herniation, whereas older patients are at greater risk because of changes in their arthritic condition,” she explains.

In general, men and women, along with anyone who has a high body mass index or diabetes, obesity or high cholesterol, who smoke or who have a high level of stress are more at chance of sciatica according to the doctor. Bergman adds. Her research suggests that other risks for sciatica include family history and genetics, as well as jobs that require repetitive or hefty lifting, twisting or sitting for extended durations of time.

How can stretching help relieve pain and symptoms caused by sciatica

Most of the time the treatment of sciatica is multifaceted and is dependent on your particular symptoms, the history of your condition and the causes. Stretching is a common part of treatment for a lot of patients and so is strength training. It’s recommended to meet with a physical therapist at minimum in the beginning to ensure that you’re properly diagnosed and are able to develop a custom treatment plan that targets whatever causes the irritation to your sciatic nerve.

“In all, the purpose in stretching is lessen the pressure upon the nerve root and to relax the surrounding tissues that contribute to the pain caused by spasms and constriction of blood flow,” says Dr. Bergman. “However when stretching too vigorously and too soon in the progression of the disease could cause further irritation to the nerve tissue that has been sensitized.”

5 stretching exercises for sciatica

1. Figure 4 stretch

The stretch helps relieve sciatica due to the fact that the sciatica nerve passes directly through the middle of the piriformis muscle, which is located on your butt that is situated near the top of your hip joint according to Dr. Bergman says. “This muscle can go into an inactive state, referred to as a spasm or knot due to nerve irritation,” she explains. “Regular stretching that is not painful can ease the pressure of the muscles upon the sciatic nerve especially in the later stages of healing.” She suggests that you do this stretch on both sides, including the non-painful side if you have the time.

What to do: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet laid flat on the ground. The ankle of the leg that is hurting over the thigh on the opposite leg at the level of the knee. Press gently on the inside of your elevating knee till you can feel the stretch to the sides or the front of your hip, or back. Alternately, you can pull the elevated knee towards the opposite shoulder instead of pressing down. The doctor. Bergman says that depending on the muscles affected, one position may feel more comfortable than the others but you are able to test both positions and pick the one that is most comfortable for you. For 20-30 minutes. Repeat several times per day.

2. Cat/cow

According Dr. Bergman, this gentle stretch can help to relax the spine and helps help reduce sciatic pain. “Motion is the best lotion! Moving the spine in an unweighted posture will assist in relaxing any tight muscles” she says. “In doing so, you will increase circulation to the affected areas to decrease inflammation and aid in healing. Overall, it will help you feel more confident about how your back can move without pain.”

What to do: Get down on your knees and hands, placing your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Inhale as you transition towards”cat. “cat” pose by gradually bringing your back towards the ceiling contemplating the moment you bring your nose towards the buckle of your belt. Take a few seconds to hold before exhaling when you are in”cow” position “cow” pose by dropping your stomach towards the floor, while arching the body back and looking ahead. The doctor. Bergman says to think about tiling your pelvis forward or extending your butt when you are doing this. Repeat the process 10 to 15 times throughout an undisturbed range of motion several times throughout the day.

3. Sciatic nerve glides

Doctor. Bergman says that in certain instances of sciatica the an inflammation local to the nerve can result in an restricted area that can exacerbate symptoms, particularly when symptoms begin to ease. “This exercise will assist the nerve return to it’s ability to move across the tissue around it, much like floss glides over the teeth of a person,” she says noting that this workout works best at the end of healing and is not recommended if it causes pain in the stretch.

What to do: Lie on your back with the hip of your painful leg bent to 90 degrees in a way that your kneecap is pointed towards the ceiling and your the shin is parallel with the floor. Keep this leg in place at your back in your thigh. Then, flex your foot and keep this position of your ankle throughout the workout. Slowly raise your knee until you feel a comfortable stretch across the back of your leg. If you are experiencing symptoms that are intense or cause discomfort, do not put your foot into or into the area of pain. Repetition 10-15 times throughout an uninvolved range of motion frequently throughout the day. Do this 10-15 times throughout an uninvolved range of motion often throughout the day.

4. Prone press-ups

The doctor Dr. Bergman says this stretch is recommended for patients who have disc herniation that is the reason for the sciatica pain. “It will help to reduce the sensitivity of the nerve to lessen the symptoms experienced,” she explains. “When you exercise this wayrepeatedly over a period of weeks or days your leg, the pain in your leg is likely to “centralize,” or move towards the buttocks. This indicates an improvement in your health!”

What to do: Lie on your stomach and place your hands placed flat beneath your shoulders. Make sure to press up with your hands, only allowing your back to incline away from the floor or bed while leaving your pelvis and your legs pressing against the floor underneath your feet. This could cause a feeling or stretch along to the back of the leg that is affected. For five secondsand after which slowly bring it back to the starting position. Repetition 10 times.

5. Double knees for chest stretch

Based on the doctor. Bergman, for people suffering from sciatic arthritis, the flexed, gentle position of the spine can be beneficial to stiff joints. “This stretch offers a brief expansion of the nerve to heal, allowing it the time to recover,” she adds. However, she warns that this is not recommended for anyone who has a suspected disc herniation as it may cause discomfort.

What to do: Lie on your back and gently wrap your knees with both hands against your chest. Maintain this position by taking a few deep breaths for at least 30 minutes. Lower your legs back down. Repeat 3 times and continue throughout the day for the best outcomes.

Stretching to treat sciatica best techniques

Stretching is an essential part of a successful treatment for sciatica. The doctor. Bergman highly recommends seeing an occupational therapist to aid you in determining the cause and get you back on your feet as efficiently as you can.

In any case, use the pain as your guide. Be aware of your body and if stretching seems to be causing discomfort then stop. Take care of yourself. But, moving is medicine, so don’t hesitate to test these exercises to treat sciatica and test if they can help you.