Sciatica is a real pain in the back and a pain in the rear – literally.
Your sciatic nerve runs down your lower back, near your rectal region, and down each leg. Abnormal pressure or irritation of the nerve in any way can cause pain to radiate down some or all of these areas.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that comparatively speaking, most cases of sciatica are easy to treat. Ninety percent of people suffering from sciatica never need surgery, and can instead assuage their pain with a few stretches. That said, these stretches tend to be on the more complex side.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the symptoms and causes of sciatica as well as a few stretches that can help you manage and alleviate the sciatica pain.
Symptoms and Causes of Sciatica Pain
As stated, irritation and inflammation are among the most common causes of sciatica. Among the most common causes of sciatic pain include:
- Spinal injuries such as bulging or herniated discs
- Spinal tumors
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fractures
- Spondylolisthesis, which causes vertebrae to slip onto the bone beneath it
- Ankylosing spondylitis, which is a form of arthritis affecting the spine
One of the most important questions to resolve regarding sciatic pain is whether you really are suffering from sciatica or another type of back pain.
Sciatic pain is characterized in part by the pain’s locus. If your pain is precisely radiating down your lower back, backside, and into your lower leg region, there’s a fair to a good chance it’s sciatica.
Often sciatica results following a trauma following a sports injury, auto accident or a work-related injury.
If you do have sciatica, you’ll want to visit your doctor for long-term treatment options.
In the short-term, you should try stretching your back, and your doctor may prescribe stretches such as these as part of your long-term recovery regimen.
Sciatica Stretch #1: Child’s Pose
This stretch takes its name in part from its relative ease. Get down on all fours, and then try and bring your feet together in a kneeling position. Place your head on the floor in front of you and stretch out.
Sciatica Stretch #2: Standing Twist
For this exercise, you will need a chair, stool, or something similar. Stand so you are facing the chair and place one of your feet on its seat.
You’ll now want to press and stretch up and down while lengthening your tailbone, twisting gently from left to right as you go. Be sure to breathe in a calm, soothing fashion.
Do this a few times and then switch to your other leg. Repeat as needed.
Stretch #3: Knee Hugs
As the name of this stretch would imply, the object is to hug your knees close to you.
Lie flat on your back with your legs extended outward. Using the strength of your core (rather than your lower back), work to bring one of your knees toward you, hugging it toward your chest.
Hold it in place for a few moments.
Breathe, exhale, release, and repeat with the other leg.
Stretch #4: Supine Twist (One and Two Knees)
This stretch can be done with either one or both knees.
Lie flat on your back with your arms out in a “T” shape. Bring one or both of your knees over your hip while keeping your calves parallel to the ground.
Breathe in, and then breathe out as you release one or both knees.
Stretch #5: Lunging Twist
Begin by standing and taking a big step forward and bend your knee. Place the other knee on the ground. Clasp your hands together as if in prayer and bring them toward your chest.
Breathe in as you stretch your back, breathe out again as you twist your body.
Hook one of your elbows to the leg on the same side.
Breathe in again as you continue to stretch your back and lengthen your spine.
Hold the pose for a few breaths, breathe in as you unwind yourself, and then repeat the pose for the other side
Stretch #6: Seated Twist
If standing and lunging is too intense or causes too much pain, you may want to try this variation.
Sit cross-legged and stretch your back so that you feel a stretching sensation down your tailbone. Breathe in and stretch both arms above your head.
Place one hand behind you for support. Then, with the other hand, grab the thigh of the leg opposite.
Be sure to keep your hips steady and remain stable and upright.
Breathe in, hold the pose for a few breaths, breathe out as you release, and then repeat with the other side.
Stretch #7: Cobbler’s Pose
Sit with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching as in a yoga pose. Breathe in as you lengthen your spine down to your tailbone. Lean forward, over your feet, and breathe out again.
With the benefit of these stretches, you can stretch out your sciatica and ease sciatica pain.
Still Suffering From Sciatica Pain?
If you’re still suffering from sciatica, it may be time to see a medical professional to have it properly diagnosed and treated.
To find an experienced back pain doctor near you call (888) 590-4030 today and get on your way to recovery!