Exercises for Sciatica

Irritation of the sciatic nerve causes sciatic pain. The pain typically starts from the lower back and goes down to the knee. Usually, sciatica affects only one buttock and leg: it is rare that both legs experience pain. This pain is usually constant and may come with weakness and numbness in the affected areas. A typical treatment program for sciatica involves stretching, aerobic conditioning, and lower body strength training.

Stretches are good for sciatica. One stretch that may help relieve sciatic pain is the figure 4 stretch:

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended. Try not to arch your back.
  • Slowly bring one knee toward your chest and grasp it with your hands (behind or on top of the knee).
  • Pull on the knee gently until you feel a mild stretch in your lower spine and hip.
  • Hold for 5 to 30 seconds. Lower slowly.

Another stretch that may help is the basic seated stretch:

  • Begin by sitting on a chair and cross place the ankle of your painful leg over the knee of the other leg.
  • Bend forward with your chest, keeping your spine straight. If is it not painful, try to bend over more. Stop if you feel any pain.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Sciatica pain may be constant, but it can flare up and go away as well. There are physical therapy programs available to help alleviate and treat it.

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