If you’re feeling sciatica pain, get ready to stretch.
These motions allow the hips and lower back to extend, which can often provide temporary relief to nerve pain. This can be a welcome change from the constant discomfort and inflammation that seems to build up the longer you sit and don’t move.
The optimal type of stretching can vary, depending on where you sciatica pain originates and why it’s happening. For instance, a ruptured disk may cause it; or injury or trauma; or spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal.
Experts in treating sciatica pain suggest trying out a variety of stretches and other exercises which allow you to shift your hips until you find the one that helps the most, while avoiding any that don’t do anything or may cause additional pain. You may even find that the effectiveness of certain positions varies over time, especially if you start to become more flexible or the pain starts to decrease.
Some simple stretching exercises that can soothe sciatica can include:
- Standing hamstring extension. While standing, slightly elevate your left foot and place it on a chair, step, desk or end table. Make sure your leg and toe are straight. Bend slightly forward toward your foot. If you begin to feel pain, stop. Push your foot downward, which will ease pressure on your hip. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and switch feet.
- Shoulder to knee. Lie down, extend both feet and flex them upward. Bend your left leg and wrap your arms around your left knee. Slowly stretch your left leg toward your right shoulder, and hold the pose for about 30 seconds. Release your leg and return, and then repeat three times before switching to the right leg and left shoulder. Repeat three times.
- Leg grab. Lie down on your back and lift your left leg at a right angle. Wrap your hands around your left thigh. Then, raise your right leg and place your left ankle above your right knee. Hold for 30 seconds, and then do the same stretch by holding your right leg, raising your left, and placing your right ankle over your left knee. This exercise stretches the piriformis muscle, which can press against the sciatic nerve.
- Forward stretch. While kneeling on all fours, move your left leg forward, perpendicular to your body, with your knee bent and your left foot near your right hip, if it’s not painful. Shift your weight to your legs from your arms so your legs are supporting your weight. Move into a sitting position with one hand on each leg. Then, lean forward over your left leg, which will help extend your hip and lower back. Your arms can also be used to support your weight or minimize pain. Repeat with your other leg.
For suggestions on other stretches to relieve sciatica pain or to learn about other non-surgical methods to promote healing, including spinal decompression, please contact us for a free consultation. Our chiropractic clinic is in Arlington, TX and we provide ourselves on providing the best chiropractic and medical care for our patients.