Sciatica Pain: 5 Easy Stretches
Sciatica is defined as nerve pain that glides through the sciatic nerve, which starts from your lower back and through the hips and buttocks, and all the way down the leg and the foot. According to the MayoClinic, there are several risk factors related to sciatica depending on age, history of diabetes, or your work setting which may require you to sit for long periods of time. In some cases, sciatica can go away without treatment, but in other cases, you may need assistance from a physician or chiropractor.
Causes of Sciatica
According to the NCBI, sciatica is a medical condition where individuals may experience pain in the sciatic nerve or a lumbosacral nerve. Studies show that an estimated 5-10% of individuals with existing lower back pain have sciatica, according to this article. However, certain risk factors such as age, weight/physical health, and smoking may cause acute sciatica.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. The causes of sciatica pain may vary but can include a ruptured disk or a sustained injury or fracture, according to this article. Other common causes of sciatica include the following:
- Inflammation in the body
- Herniated disk which puts pressure on the nerve
- Spinal stenosis (spinal canal narrowing)
- Injury to the spine or sciatic nerve
- Degenerated tissues
- Stress fractures
Common Symptoms of Sciatica
Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of sciatica include leg pain or numbness in the body with a “pins and needles” feeling. Other common symptoms include the following:
- Difficulty walking
- Foot numbness and tingling sensation
- Sharp, burning pain
- Pain along the leg
- Weakness in the legs
- Bowel issues
- Shooting pain
When To See A Professional
For patients that have unbearable pain, it’s important to seek emergency care right away. If you have acute or chronic sciatica that is manageable but recurring, visit a chiropractor’s office or do daily stretches to reduce the sciatic pain. If you visit a chiropractor, they will try to identify the root cause of the sciatic nerve pain. They can do this through spinal manipulation and other chiropractic techniques to help manage or treat the pain.
5 Easy Stretches to Manage Sciatica Pain
If you suffer from sciatica pain and are looking for easy stretches that you can do in the comfort of your own home, look no further.
Hamstring stretches: Hamstring stretches help reduce tight hamstrings that could be putting a lot of pressure or stress on your lower back and nerves. We’d recommend starting out with a wall hamstring stretch, as recommended by Spine Health. The wall hamstring stretch is where you sit comfortably on the floor while keeping one leg comfortably on the floor. Place the other leg straight against the wall. This helps stretch your hamstrings, and you can switch the legs for an optimal stretch.
Pelvic stretch/tilt: A pelvic tilt stretch is great for strengthening your ab muscles and for stretching out your lower back, according to this article. To do this simple stretch, you need to lie straight on your back and then tighten your ab muscles as your push your stomach and hold the form for a few seconds.
Bridging: This simple to do stretch helps alleviate sciatica pain. Make sure you’re lying flat on the floor and bending both your knees with your feet flat. From there, gently raise your hips and hold the pose for a few seconds.
Curl-ups: Put your feet flat on the floor, and gently bring your chest up to your knees while crossing your arms. This is a great ab workout for strengthening and getting rid of any tightness.
Yoga poses: Yoga stretches are great for individuals with sciatica pain. Consider doing a cobra pose, where you lie flat on your stomach and put your palms facing down on the yoga mat. From there, you’ll be able to enjoy a deep stretch while lifting your chest from the ground.