If you suffer from sciatica, we at Mid-County Physical Therapy how debilitating it can be — and how much it can stop you from doing even simple daily tasks.
We also know how common this extremely painful condition is, affecting nearly 40 percent of the population, making it a leading cause of lower back pain. Fortunately, there are options to help you ease the pain and enable you to move more easily. In addition to a customized physical therapy regimen, these six stretches for sciatica pain relief may be able to help.
1. Piriformis Stretch
Piriformis stretches can be difficult when you are first starting. If you need extra support while doing this stretch, stand with your back about two feet from a wall.
Put your affected leg over the other leg’s knee. You’re essentially making the number 4 with your body. Bring your hips to a 45-degree angle. Bending your leg as much as you need to, bend at the waist while keeping your back straight. Let your arms swing downward and stay in place for up to a minute. Repeat with the other leg.
2. Long Adductor/Groin Stretch
Sit down on the floor. Place your legs straight out in front of you, as far apart as you can comfortably manage. Put your hands beside each other on the floor and angle your torso downward. Resting your elbows on the floor, lean forward, and hold that position for up to 20 seconds.
If you feel any pain, stop immediately.
3. Short Adductor/Inner Thigh Stretch
Start with your feet together in front of you, soles flat, while you sit on the floor. Hold your ankles with opposite hands (left with right and vice versa). Press forward using your feet but stop if you feel discomfort or pain. Instead, stop short of where movement becomes painful. Hold the position for about 30 seconds. As you release the stretch, flutter your legs like wings for another 30 seconds.
4. Hip Extension
Keeping your hands lined up with your shoulders, get down on all fours. Lift your painful leg to the ceiling while keeping your knee gently bent. Lower that leg slowly until it almost touches the floor. Repeat this 10 to 15 times, being sure to move slowly and gradually.
5. Side-Lying Clam
While lying down on the floor on the pain-free side of your body, bend your knees back and cross one foot over the other. Keep your legs parallel throughout. Form an L-shape with your hands. Bring your top knee up while holding your body in position and keeping your feet together. Return your knee to the starting position slowly. Repeat this 10 to 15 times.
6. Sitting Stretch
Cross the sore leg over the other while sitting in your chair. Begin to bend forward, so your chest comes closer to your legs, but keep your spine straight. Stop short of feeling pain and hold the position for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Before beginning any new exercise regimen, be sure to consult a medical professional. Certain exercises may be unsafe depending on your health and other factors. More importantly, of the many potential causes of sciatic back pain, several may require surgery to correct.
If done correctly and under the proper guidance, the six stretches for sciatic pain outlined above can help improve your life, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. With professional help from the expert staff at Mid-County Physical Therapy, a healthier and happier you is just around the corner. Don’t wait; schedule an appointment with us today!