5 Moves to Relieve Sciatic Pain
Sciatica is a term that refers to the pain caused by irritation or pressure to the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower spine, through the buttocks, down the leg and all the way to the foot. Sciatic pain can be excruciating and debilitating, making it extremely difficult to exercise, work, get dressed, or to put it simply, live an active and happy life. When faced with sciatic pain, it’s better to engage in low-impact activities like walking and swimming, abdominal strengthening and stretching. In this article, the FizzUp trainer is bringing you five moves you can do wherever you want to help you relieve sciatic pain.
MOVE #1 TO RELIEVE SCIATIC PAIN: PIGEON STRETCH
This super-effective move fights back pain by triggering a powerful stretch in your glutes. When you sit for long periods of time or live a sedentary lifestyle, you accumulate lots of tension in your hips, which tightens them up and can then cause sciatic pain.
- Get down on your hands and knees and place your right knee in front of your chest so that it’s perpendicular to your body.
- Your right foot should be aligned with your right knee.
- Extend your left leg out on the floor behind you, with the top of your foot against the floor and your toes pointing backward. For a more challenging stretch, you can also bring up your back calf to grasp your foot.
- Sit up straight your hands on the floor beside each leg and inhale deeply.
- Bend forward toward your front leg and support your weight with your arms.
- Hold the position for five to ten breaths, then repeat the stretch on the other side of your body. Alternate sides for two to three sets.
MOVE #2 TO RELIEVE SCIATIC PAIN: PIRIFORMIS STRETCH
The sciatic nerve passes alongside the piriformis muscle, and for some people, the nerve goes through the muscle. When the piriformis is contracted, it can affect the nerve, potentially causing or worsening sciatic pain. To remedy this, you have to give it a deep stretch. The next stretch bends it as much as possible and turns your hips outward, which effectively stretches the piriformis.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
- Place your right ankle on your left knee.
- Firmly grasp your right foot and pull it away from your right knee for a relieving stretch.
- Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat it three times for each leg as you alternate them.
MOVE #3 TO RELIEVE SCIATIC PAIN: CORE STRENGTHENING
When it comes to relieving sciatic pain and most other kinds of lower back pain, reinforcing your abs and back muscles is vital. This gives your body a stronger core, significantly improves your posture and reduces your risk of injury.
When your strong deep and superficial abs are strong, you’ll recover faster from sciatic pain and be more likely to keep it at bay in the future. With this in mind, the FizzUp trainer recommends doing these exercises or stretches two or three times in a circuit to relieve lower back pain:
- Elbow plank
- Reverse crunches
- Yoga or pilates to strengthen your deep muscles
- Rowing crunches
You’ll find all these exercises in your FizzUp app, whether they’re in your workouts or the abs challenges. You’ve got everything you need to strengthen those muscles and sciatic pain from coming back!
MOVE #4 TO RELIEVE SCIATIC PAIN: KNEE-TO-CHEST STRETCH
This stretch boosts flexibility in your lower back and relieves sciatic pain. It relaxes your glutes and piriformis, which can irritate the sciatic nerve.
- Lie on your back with a pillow under your head and your legs straight with your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Bend your right knee and firmly grasp the back of your knee with both hands.
- Gently pull your right leg toward your left shoulder and hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Hold your leg against your chest as hard as you can to fully stretch your glutes. You should feel a deep stretch in your glutes and lower back, but not any pain.
- When the 30 seconds are up, return your leg to the starting position for a few seconds before repeating the stretch three or four more times before you switch legs.
MOVE #5 TO RELIEVE SCIATIC PAIN: HAMSTRING STRETCH
This stretch relieves painful and tight hamstrings that can cause or come as a result of sciatic pain.
- Place your right foot on an surface that comes to, or just below, your hips. This could be a chair, bed or stairstep.
- Make sure your leg is straight, but don’t lock your knee.
- Starting with your torso straight and engaged, gently bend over toward your right foot. You can reach out and grab the top of your foot, but don’t hunch your back. The more you bend over, the deeper the stretch will be.
- If you need help stretching, hook a strap or a belt under your foot. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, then repeat the stretch two or three more times as you alternate sides.
WHAT WE RECOMMEND
In the beginning, do the moves gently to help you get used to the movements and decide how far you can stretch without experiencing any pain. Try doing them two to three times a week. You can also add some walking, cycling or water activities to your routine. Stopping the stretch as soon as you feel any severe pain is recommended.
And remember, engaging in physical activity (instead of completely avoiding it) is one of the best weapons against sciatic pain. Without it, your muscles will start to weaken and decondition as they become stiffer and stiffer. This will amplify the pain and increase your risk of back injury.
You’ll find all these moves, tips and routines for all fitness levels, as well as workouts to strengthen your abs under the “Workouts” tab in your FizzUp app!