5 Good Exercises Against Sciatica
Are you plagued with sciatica and nerve pain in the leg? Here are 5 exercises for you sciatica which can reduce symptoms and provide functional improvement. These exercises are especially aimed at activating, stretching and mobilizing muscles and structures that are known to contribute to sciatica. By having regular increased blood circulation to the area and increased flexibility, you can in many cases achieve good symptom relief.
Sciatica is a term that describes an irritation or pinching of the sciatic nerve - this leads to a nerve pain that can go down into the leg. The sciatic nerve originates at the very bottom of the lower back, before traveling through the pelvis, seat and further down the leg - all the way to the feet. In addition to stretching exercises, we also recommend regular use of trigger point balls against the gluteal muscles (see example here - the link opens in a new window).
VIDEO (In this video you can see all the exercises with explanations):
Doesn't the video start when you press it? Try updating your browser or watch it directly on our YouTube channel. Otherwise feel free to subscribe to the channel. On the canal you will also find training exercises training elastic (as shown here - the link opens in a new window) which can be especially beneficial for you with pelvic problems and sciatica.
Remember that you have to adjust to your own pain, if it hurts to do the exercises then you are probably not quite ready to stretch as far or do so many repetitions - try and see what is right for you. Exercise on ellipse mask and swimming are two nice exercises without too much impact - which prevents further irritation of the nerve. Of course, we recommend that you get expert treatment in addition to these exercises for the best effect.
1. Kneel towards chest
This exercise aims to increase the movement of the lower back and stretch the muscles of the seat and lower back. Lie flat on the floor with your back down, preferably on a training mat with support under your neck. Pull your legs up against you until they are in a bent position.
Then bend one leg up against you until you feel it stretch gently in the seat and lower back. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.
Alternatively, you can bend both legs up to the chest - but we recommend using it only when you have less pain, as it puts slightly higher pressure on the discs in the lower back.
2. Sciatica nerve mobilization exercise ("nerve flossing")
The purpose of this exercise is to mobilize your sciatica nerve itself and can be painful if you are in an acute phase of the sciatica problem - this should therefore be awaited until the sciatica irritation is somewhat more under control. Lie flat on the floor with your back down, preferably on a training mat with support under your neck.
Then bend one leg toward the chest and then grip the back of the thigh with both hands. Stretch your leg in a controlled, calm motion, while pulling your leg toward you. Keep the clothing exercise for 20-30 seconds while taking deep breaths. Then bend your knee back and return to the starting position. Alternatively you can use a towel or the like to get extra stretch to the back of the thigh.
Repeat the exercise 2-3 times on each side.
3. Lying back lift («The Cobra»)
This exercise extends and mobilizes the lower back in a gentle manner. Lie on your abdomen and support your elbows with your palms facing the floor. Keep your neck in a neutral position (not bent) and stretch back slowly by applying pressure down through your hands. You should feel a slight stretch in your abdominal muscles as you stretch back - don't go so far as to hurt. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds. Repeat over 6-10 repetitions.
4. Standing hoarding equipment
The purpose of this exercise is to stretch the back of the thighs and especially the hamstring muscles. Many people make this exercise wrong - since they think you should bend your back forward while stretching, this must be tried and avoided as it puts too much internal pressure on the intervertebral discs (the soft structures between the vertebrae).
Stand upright and place the back of the foot against a firm, raised surface - such as a staircase. Keep your leg straight with your toes out and then lean forward until you feel it stretches well on the back of your thigh in the hamstrings. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.
5. Lying gluteal stretching
This exercise stretches the gluteal muscles and piriformis - the latter is a muscle that is often involved in sciatica and sciatica. Lie flat on the floor with your back down, preferably on an exercise mat with support under your neck. Then bend the right leg and place it over the left thigh. Then grab the left thigh or right leg and gently pull towards you until you feel that it stretches deep on the back of the thigh and the gluteal muscles on the side that you stretch. Hold the strain for 30 seconds. Then repeat on the other side. Performed over 2-3 sets on each side.
These are fine exercises that should preferably be done regularly for maximum effect - but we remind you that it can take several weeks before you start to notice a clear difference in muscle function and symptoms.
How often should I do the exercises?
It depends entirely on yourself and your health situation. Find out what's right for you in the beginning and build slowly but surely in the future. Remember that exercises can lead to soreness at first, as you actually gradually break down damaged areas (damage tissue and scar tissue) and replace it with healthy, functional soft tissue. This can be a time-consuming but very rewarding process.
If you have a diagnosis, we ask you to ask your clinician if these exercises may be beneficial to you - possibly try yourself very carefully. As mentioned earlier, we recommend that you receive active treatment for any causes and defects in muscles and joints that have led to you developing this diagnosis. A musculoskeletal expert can tell you which exercises are right for you - and which treatment you need.
Otherwise, we encourage you to be moving and to walk in rough terrain if possible.
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