We all deal with lower back pain now and then. Something you do subconsciously like sleeping in the wrong position can leave you sore the next day. But Sciatic back pain is different. It originates in the lower back but doesn’t stay there. The pain can quickly radiate to your buttocks, down one or both legs, and sometimes to your toes. Instead of a dull soreness or aching back, you might feel a searing pain overtake the entire backside of your body and legs. This may make you think something’s very wrong and that serious treatment is needed. But your healing starts at home, and you may never need anything more than a few back stretches and core exercises to overcome sciatic nerve pain.
Knee to chest stretch: This exercise can help alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with sciatica. Lie on your back on the floor or an exercise mat. Put a flat cushion or book under your head. Next, bend your knees, placing the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your torso relaxed, bend one knee towards your torso and pull it towards you with your hands. Don't pull too far. If it feels uncomfortable, back off a little bit. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. Repeat on both legs up to three times.
Nerve Glides: This exercise helps improve flexibility, but be careful of stretching the nerve. The more symptom-free movement you have in your legs, the better. Be cautious though, because stretching a nerve may irritate it and cause more pain. By doing nerve glides, you increase the range that your nerves can glide in your body – the more flexible and loose they are, the less likely they are to cause pain and irritation. Begin by lying on your back with your left foot on the ground and your right knee pulling in towards your chest while flexing your right foot. Then extend your leg and point your toes, straightening your leg as high as you can without causing a pulling sensation. Repeat at least 10 times. Avoid the classic hamstring stretch with the toes pulled toward you, as this will pull aggressively on the sciatic nerve. If you want to stretch your hamstrings, make sure to point your foot.
Dead Bug: An important part of relieving sciatica is increasing your core stabilization. The dead bug is a fantastic exercise to increase your core strength and stability. Lie flat on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling. Then lift your legs and bend your knees at 90° so your lower legs are parallel with the floor. Engage your core and draw your belly button in to get your back as flat against the floor as possible. Slowly lower your right arm behind your head and extend your left leg forwards at the same time, exhaling as you go. Keep going until your arm and leg are just above the floor, being careful not to raise your back off the floor. Then, as you inhale, slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite limbs. Aim for three sets of five to 10 reps on each side, or just keep going until the shaking in your abs gets too much.
Lower Back Twist: This exercise digs deep into your gluteus muscle group. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat against the floor. Extend your arms out to the side in a T position. Keep your shoulders against the floor as you move through this stretch, and tighten the core to support the upper spine and shoulders. Lying on the ground, gently rock your knees side-to-side, beginning to warm the muscles. Then drop the knees to one side. If they can touch the ground, that is fine, but be sure to do so without lifting the opposite shoulder from the ground. If you need a bolster, that is fine. Hold for 20-30 seconds before switching to the other side.
Butterfly Stretch: This simple stretch, stretches your groin and inner thigh. It’s great for relieving sciatic pain. Get into a seated position. Bend your knees and bring the soles of the feet together. Hold your feet with your hands and rest your elbows on your knees. Allow your knees to fall toward the ground while keeping your back straight. You can apply gentle pressure on the inner thigh by pressing gently on the knees with the elbows. You should feel gentle pulling and tension in the groin. Do not bounce or press down with great force. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Release and repeat three times.
The Seated Twist: Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor, then slide your left foot under the right leg to the outside of your right hip, bent at the knee, and lay the outside of the left leg on the floor. If this feels too uncomfortable, just keep your left leg extended in front of you. Then, bring your right foot over the left leg and place it on the floor just outside of your left hip. The knee should point directly up at the ceiling. Put your right hand on the floor behind you, twist the torso toward the inside of your right thigh, and set your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh, near the knee. Hold the final position for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Forward pigeon pose: Kneel on the floor on all fours. Pick up your right leg and move it forward on the ground in front of your body. Your lower leg should be on the ground, horizontal to the body. Your right foot should be in front of your left knee while your right knee stays to the right. Stretch the left leg out behind you on the floor, with the top of the foot on the ground and toes pointing back. Shift your body weight gradually from your arms to your legs so that your legs are supporting your weight. Sit up straight with your hands on either side of your legs. Take a deep breath. While exhaling, lean your upper body forward over your front leg. Support your weight with your arms as much as possible. Repeat on the other side.
Glute Bridges: The glutes are a group of muscles in the buttocks. If they are tight, they can press on the sciatic nerve. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. The feet should be about shoulder-width apart. Relax your aPus at your sides. shing through the heels, lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly lower the hips to the floor. Then repeat. Gute bridges along with a bunch of other exercises are a great way to burn away body cellulite.
Lower Trunk Rotations: This is a great exercise to increase your spine’s mobility and flexibility. Lie on your back with both knees bent upright and both feet flat on the floor. While holding both knees together, rotate your knees to one side and hold for 3 to 5 seconds. You will feel a gentle stretching sensation in the side 12 Exercises To Ease Sciatic Nerve Pain in your lower back and hip area. Next, contact your abdominal muscles and rotate both knees to the opposite side and hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat up to 10 times on each side. Standing hamstring stretch: This stretch can help ease pain and tightness in the hamstring caused by sciatica. Place your right foot on an elevated surface at or below your hip level. This could be a chair, ottoman, or step on a staircase. Flex your foot so your toes and leg are straight. If your knee tends to hyperextend, keep a slight bend in it. Bend your body forward slightly toward your foot. The further you go, the deeper the stretch. Don’t push so far that you feel pain. Release the hip of your raised leg downward as opposed to lifting it. If you need help easing your hip down, loop a yoga strap or long exercise band over your right thigh and under your left foot. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Cobra Pose: This sciatica exercise works because it involves movement of the lower back which encourages blood to flow to the injured area so healing can occur. Begin laying face-down on a firm surface like a mat on the floor or a hard mattress. Place your hands in line with your shoulders and gently push up, raising your torso off the floor. Keep your hips down on the floor. Only go as far as is comfortable – no need to get to full extension for a benefit. Gently lower yourself to the starting position and repeat up to a maximum of 10 times. Do a set of these 3-4 times per day. Back extensions: Lie on your stomach on the floor or on an exercise mat. Rest on your elbows, propping up your torso, with your forearms flat on the ground. Push down on your elbows to extend and stretch your spine. This will cause you to arch your back and stretch your abdominal muscles. Hold for five to ten seconds. Relax and return to the starting position. Repeat up to ten times. Exercises can not only help you ease sciatic nerve pain, but they can also provide relief from a wide range of problems.
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