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Sciatica, Part 1: Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sciatic nerve pain stems from an issue called sciatica, a painful condition caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. Often due to a herniated disc or bone spur, sciatic nerve pain will originate in the buttocks and travel down the back of either leg, stopping at the calf. It is also possible to feel pain in both legs and experience pain down to the foot.

Sciatic pain tends to fade over time but can become chronic if left untreated. It can also cause limited mobility, depending on the severity of the root cause.

If you struggle with sciatica, check out these low-impact stretches and exercises for sciatic nerve pain, each designed to ease pressure and increase mobility.

For your safety, we encourage you to receive clearance from your spine specialist before attempting these stretches.

Seated Glute Stretch

Stretching out the muscles around your pelvis, including your glutes and lower back muscles, helps strengthen the area and alleviate the pressure on your sciatic nerve.

To complete this stretch:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed.
  2. Position your right ankle to rest on top of your left knee.
  3. Lean forward as far as you can go. Ideally, your upper body will touch your thigh.
  4. Hold this position for 15 – 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat with your left ankle on top of your right knee.

If you are uncomfortable sitting on the floor or would like to further your stretching, you can perform this exercise while seated in a chair.

Figure 4 Stretch

This stretch is designed to open your hips, which is essential to helping alleviate nerve pain.

To complete this stretch:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left leg around the mid-thigh area. Your legs should look like they are forming an upside-down 4.
  3. Grab your left leg and pull it toward you as far as you can without overdoing it. You should feel a nice stretch behind your right leg and in your right hip.
  4. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then release.
  5. Repeat with your left ankle crossed over your right leg.
  6. Repeat on both sides four times.

Pelvic Tilt Exercise

Working the muscles around your pelvis helps build abdominal strength, which is critical to protecting your lower back and the area around your sciatic nerve.

To complete this exercise:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  2. Contract your abdominal muscles as if you are trying to pull your belly button toward your spine.
  3. As you pull in your belly button, your spine will flatten, and your pelvis will tilt up toward your chest. Hold this for 20 seconds, then release.
  4. Repeat up to 10 times.

While exercises for sciatic nerve pain can help alleviate pressure, Georgia Neurological Institute can successfully treat sciatica and other nerve complications.

Our neurosurgeons are advanced, highly trained spine specialists who offer comprehensive solutions for many spinal conditions. If you are experiencing sciatic nerve pain, schedule a consultation with our team today: 478-743-7092

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