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Sciatica is the discomfort felt along the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that runs from the lower back down the lower limbs. It normally lies below the piriformis muscle which plays a major role in the movement of hips, upper leg, and foot. This muscle is the connection between the femur and the spine.
In some cases, the nerve passes through the muscle. This is known as the piriformis syndrome and it leads to poor movement and balance due to pain. It may be caused by an injury or spasm. But, if you notice the above symptoms, it’s best to consult a doctor because there may be other serious issues.
While the lower back pain may be treated with muscle relaxants and pain medications, treatment of sciatica often uses physical therapy and sometimes surgery. In any case, the treatment may take a long time. Here are some exercises to help relieve sciatica pain.
Please stay in your comfort zone while doing these exercises; be sure to warm up with a few stretches before you start exercising.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- #1 Supine Piriformis Stretch
- #2 Standing Piriformis Stretch:
- #3 Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch
- #4 Long Adductor (Groin) Stretch
- #5 Short Adductor (Inner Thigh) Stretch
- #6 Side-Lying Clam Exercise
- #7 Hip Extension Exercise
- #8 Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
- #9 Buttocks Stretch for Piriformis Muscle
- #10 Seated Stretch
#1 Supine Piriformis Stretch
1) Lie down with your knees bent upwards.
2) Cross one leg over the other by bending it upwards towards your chest.
3) With one hand, hold your ankle and grab your knee with the other. Pull gently towards the shoulder until you feel a stretch through the glutes.
4) Hold in the same position for 30 seconds and release slowly.
While doing this exercise, if you feel a slight pinch in your thighs, make sure that you stretch your hip flexors first. Make sure that you feel the stretch in your glutes. If it does not happen, after crossing the legs as stated in step 2, pull the leg which is on the floor towards you by grabbing it from behind the thigh.
Check out the demonstration video below:
#2 Standing Piriformis Stretch:
1) Stand firmly on the floor. Take one leg and place it over the other knee to make a 4
2) Steadily lower the hips down towards the ground at a 45-degree angle. Make sure to bend the knee of the standing leg in an appropriate manner.
3) Lean forward with your torso and extend your arms parallel to the ground. Make sure that your spine is kept straight throughout.
4) Stay in this position for about a minute and switch to the other leg.
If you see that you are unable to keep your balance, use the support of a wall. Stand with your back against a wall and keep your feet at a 24-inch distance from the wall.
Play the video to get a better picture:
#3 Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch
To perform this exercise,
1) Lie on your back.
2) Bend a leg by placing the foot of the leg behind the knee of the other leg. Tuck the foot behind the knee and twist the leg to the opposite side with the knee facing the ground.
3) Place the opposite hand on the bent knee on the knee and stretch the other hand towards the air.
4) Lower the arm in the direction opposite to the knee in a manner such that the shoulder touches the ground.
5) Stay in this position for 20 seconds and switch sides
6) Come back to the initial lying position.
7) Bend both the knees and pull them towards your chest.
See the demonstration video below:
#4 Long Adductor (Groin) Stretch
1) Sit with your legs stretched out.
2) Bend your torso forward towards the ground and place your hands on the floor, next to each other.
3) Tilt forward as far as you are comfortable. Make an attempt to touch your elbows to the ground while leaning forward.
4) Hold for 20 seconds and come back to the initial position.
See the video:
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#5 Short Adductor (Inner Thigh) Stretch
1) Sit on the ground and place your feet together in front of your pelvis.
2) Move your hand to grasp the opposite ankle. Slightly raise your legs upwards.
3) Then, gently push your knees down to touch the ground. Stay in this position for 20 seconds. The overall movement of the legs should be like a flutter.
Details on the video:
#6 Side-Lying Clam Exercise
1) Lay on your side with hips on top.
2) Make an L shape with your legs by bending them and placing one foot on top of the other. Make sure that your legs are parallel to each other.
3) Keep your body and spine is straight.
4) Keeping your feet together, raise the top knee upward, making sure your spine is straight.
5) Lower the raised knee to the initial position.
6) Repeat 10 times for each leg.
Check out the video:
#7 Hip Extension Exercise
1) Get on the ground on all four limbs, hands and knees on the ground with hands in line with your shoulders.
2) Bend the knee of one leg and raise it upward towards the ceiling.
3) Gradually lower it to almost the starting position (make sure that the knees do not actually come down to the starting position). Repeat 15 times
4) Do it with the other leg
Do as the video suggests:
#8 Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
1) Lie with your back straight.
2) Bend one leg upward and place the foot on the outer side of the other leg, near the knee.
3) Pull the knee of the leg using the opposite hand across the middle of your body until you feel a stretch.
4) If it hurts, loosen the stretch.
5) Keep the shoulders and hips firmly on the ground.
6) Hold for 30 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg and repeat the whole process 2 to 3 times.
See details in the video:
#9 Buttocks Stretch for Piriformis Muscle
1) Come to the ground on all fours with your knees and hands on the ground.
2) Bring the foot of one leg underneath your trunk and twist it toward the opposite side, near the hip, knees pointed towards the shoulder.
3) Lower your head till your forehead touches the ground and support yourself by leaning your forearms on the ground.
4) Slowly stretch the other leg out behind you keeping the pelvis straight.
5) Hold for 30 seconds and come back to the initial position.
6) Repeat 2 to 3 times.
Check out the video:
#10 Seated Stretch
1) Sit on a chair and cross one leg over the other knee.
2) Bring your chest forward and bend slightly.
3) Make sure that your spine is straight throughout.
4) Stay in this position for 30 seconds. Try to hold your breath for a few seconds as well.
5) Repeat with the opposite leg
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