Sciatica is not a disorder, but a very painful symptom of many impending health issues in the back, pelvis and hip. People suffering from sciatica mostly experience radiating pain from the buttocks to the back of the leg. However, sciatica does not have to originate in the back, it can be caused due to an injury to the pelvis or hip or from the intense pressure to the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is a nerve that stems from the lower back on either side of the spine. It goes through the buttocks and into the hips before dividing down each leg. It is the longest nerve in the system, which is responsible for providing sensation to the outer leg and foot.
Sciatica may be mild or so severe that a person may have difficulty while standing, sitting or even lying down. They may also feel weakness in the affected leg and sometimes the pain may aggravate with sudden movements such as coughing. Physical therapy and stretching exercises greatly help to rotate the hip and provide respite from pain.
Here are 5 simple exercises that help people with sciatica to manage well.
Reclining Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose works to open the hips, when you are beginning with therapy start with reclining pigeon pose first. This exercise stimulates the internal organs, stretch deep glutes, groins and a long muscle on the side of the vertebral column and pelvis. It offers relief from sciatic pain.
How To Do
Sitting on your back, move the right leg up to a 90 degree position, hold both hands behind the thigh by joining your fingers.
Lift left leg and place your right ankle on top of the left knee.
Stay in this position for a second, this supports to stretch the tiny piriformis muscles, which gets inflamed and forces the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
Repeat the same exercise with the other leg.
Sitting Pigeon Pose
Sitting pigeon pose helps to open the hip joint, lengthens the hip flexor, improve hip flexibility, posture, alignment and eases sciatic pain. Moreover, this exercise also reduces back pain and stiffness.
How To Do
Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you.
Bend the right leg, by putting your right ankle on top of the left knee.
Lean forward and let the upper body reach toward the thigh.
Stay in this position for 30 seconds, this stretched the glutes and lower back.
Repeat the same on the other side.
Knee To Opposite Shoulder
This easy to do movement aids to alleviate pain by loosening gluteal and piriformis muscles, which can become inflamed and strain the sciatic nerve.
How To Do
Lie down on your back with your legs stretched and feet bent upward.
Bend the right leg and hold your hands round the knee.
Slowly pull the right leg across your body toward left shoulder. Stay in this position for 30 seconds, however, pull your knee only as far as it will easily move. This should help you feel a relieving stretch in your muscle, but not pain.
Push knees so your legs go back to its starting position.
Sitting Spinal Stretch
Sciatica pain is caused when vertebrae in the spine constrict. Sitting spinal stretch supports to make space in the spine to ease pressure on the sciatic nerve.
How To Do
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight out with your feet bent upward.
Bend your knee and place the foot flat on the floor on the outside of the opposite knee.
Keep your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to aid you slowly turn the body towards the right.
Stay for 30 seconds, repeat this thrice and then switch sides.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
This exercise can aid relieve pain and tightness in the hamstring caused due to sciatica.
How To Do
Keep your right foot on an elevated surface like a chair or step on a staircase, below your hip level. Flex your foot so that your toes and leg are straight.
Bend your body forward slightly toward the foot, the further you go, the deeper the stretch. However, don’t push so far if you feel any pain.
Loosen the hip of your stretched leg downward as opposed to lifting it up. If you need any support to ease your hip down, use a long exercise band.
Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.