Sciatic nerve pain is an agonizing condition to anyone who suffers from it. Standing, walking and even lying down at night become intensely painful. In some individuals if the condition worsens the damage to the sciatic nerve can start to affect a person’s ability to walk or stand properly and most will also suffer from lower back pain and leg pain.

Often tight piriformis, abdominal or hamstring muscles will contribute to misalignment in the lower spine and pelvis and contribute pressure and irritation to the lower spinal nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve.

We are going to go over five powerful and effective stretches and exercises designed at helping a person avoid sciatic nerve pain and perhaps these may provide some relief to those who are already suffering from either lower back pain or leg pain as a result of damage to the sciatic nerve.continue reading

1. The first stretch we are going to do is for the piriformis muscle. You want to lay flat down on the floor on your back. Keep your head on the ground, use a pillow if the surface is too hard to support your head. Keep the legs fully extended straight out. Bring your knees upwards and towards your chest. Cross your left leg over your right leg and bring the left knee towards you. You want to gently bring your knee closer until you feel you are near the maximum stretch and keep it there for approximately 8-10 seconds. Keep your back as flat as possible. Switch to the other side and repeat for the right leg. Do this a couple of times on each side and progress to the next exercise.

2. This exercise is slightly similar but this time you bring one knee up towards you and keep the other leg slightly bent and on or near the floor. Pull the knee towards you and you should feel the stretch through the buttock. Again hold this for approximately 8-10 seconds and switch sides. Repeat this a couple of times each and progress to the next stretch.

3. The next exercise is done flat on the floor again. One leg bent keeping your foot flat and the other leg is kept straight and flat on the floor. You want to make sure you perform this exercise keeping your lower back flat and also against the floor. Elevate the straightened leg approximately 15-20 centimetres above the floor. You want to keep the lower abdominal muscles contracted and tight. Hold this position for about 8-10 seconds then lower the leg down to the floor. Switch sides and perform this with the other leg. Repeat a second time and progress to the next exercise.

4. Sit on the floor with one leg flat and the other one bent at the knee. If you aren’t very flexible you can place the flat leg against the wall for stability. Stretch forward toward the top of the foot of the flat leg. Hold this stretch for approximately 8-10 seconds again. Switch sides and perform on the opposite leg. Do this a couple of times each leg and progress to the next exercise.

5. Bend down onto one knee. Bring the heel of your other leg back towards the buttock on the same side while pushing forward with your pelvis. This is a very effective stretch and can also be performed standing. It is important to really isolate the hip flexor muscles. Try and hold this stretch for 8-10 seconds, switch sides and repeat. Perform this a couple of times on each side.If your hip flexor muscles are tight it creates abnormal tension on your lower back and creates what is a called a hyperlordosis which is an increased lumbar curve.

All of these stretches are simple yet effective at providing relief from sciatic nerve pain. As with any exercise or stretching routine, discuss your specific needs and concerns with a qualified medical professional.