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Sciatica Stretches - Tips on How to Stretch

The pain from sciatica can be quite debilitating and to have some simple strategies at your finger-tips that you can use to ease your pain would be very helpful. Sciatica stretches can be done whenever you feel pain or tension in your back, hips or legs and can quickly relieve your discomfort. Also, if you are doing an activity which you know, from experience, might bring on sciatica pain, you will be able to stop regularly and do sciatic stretches to prevent aggravating the nerve.

Before you start any treatment or exercise after experiencing any type of sudden pain, particularly back pain, you need to see your doctor to get a diagnosis of your condition. While stretching certain muscles may help to ease your pain, you need to know that you will not be risking further damage to your body. Once you have seen your doctor, ask about exercise and stretching for your sciatica.

Exercise can not only help to ease the pain of sciatica, it can also prevent the condition from developing or worsening. Here are few sensible, easy strategies you can include in your lifestyle to help with sciatica:

  • Maintain a healthy weight by eating a nutritionally balanced diet with lots of different colored vegetables, lean protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and pulses and limit processed and fast food.
  • Don't smoke; give it up if you do. Get help from your doctor and quit.
  • Make space in your schedule for regular exercise. This doesn't have to be a sweaty gym session; a 30 minute walk, cycle or swim on most days of the week will keep you fit, healthy and happy.
  • Regularly do specific core exercises that strengthen the muscles of the torso to protect your spine.
  • Maintain good posture when sitting, standing and walking.
  • Take extra care when lifting or bending forward; always bend your knees to take the strain off your back.

Good posture, making sure you warm up before exercise or activity, developing strong and flexible muscles in the lower back, hips and abdomen help to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. These muscles are rarely used in modern sedentary occupations and they need to be stretched to prevent injury.

Here are some sciatica stretches that help to relieve tension and pain in the back, hips, buttocks and upper leg. Do a few minutes of these simple stretches every morning and before you do any form of exercise and you will notice a difference to your pain. You may even notice that you are not affected by sciatica as frequently as in the past.

When you stretch, you will feel a pulling, burning sensation. Hold the stretch at a point where you feel it but can bear it. You will find that you will eventually be able to stretch further. Start out holding the stretch for a count of 10 but extend this to 20 as you become used to the exercise.

Sciatica Stretch 1 – for the buttocks and hips
Sit on the floor with one leg straight out in front. Bend the other knee out to the side and rest your outside anklebone on the straight knee. Hold this ankle and gently pull it towards your chest, keeping the other leg straight and on the floor. Hold for a count of 10, lower, change legs and repeat.

Sciatica Stretch 2 – for the lower back, buttocks and leg
Lie flat on your back on the floor, knees slightly bent so your feet are flat on the floor. Keeping your chin tucked down, grasp one knee with both hands and gently pull it towards your chest. You will feel a good stretch up into your back and along the back of the leg. Hold for 10 and then gently lower, change legs and repeat. This stretch can also be done with both knees at a time; this is a particularly good way of releasing tension and pain in the lower back.

Sciatica Stretch 3 – for the lower back and hip
Lie on your back with arms out to the side, level with your shoulders. Bend one knee so the foot is off the floor and then lower the knee over the straight leg as far down as you can comfortably go. At the same time, turn your head to the opposite side to feel a delicious stretch up the side of the torso and hip. Hold for 10, slowly lower the leg and repeat on the other side.

Sciatica Stretch 4 – for the lower back and hamstrings
This is a simple stretch to do at any time throughout your day to relieve muscle tension that results from being in the same position for extended periods of time. With both hands, hold onto the something at about waist-height that won't move like the back of a sofa, a desk or a handrail.

Have your feet at arms length from your hand-hold so you are bending forward from the waist; gently push your hips backwards until your upper back is parallel to the floor. Keep your head in line with your body and your ears touching your arms. Feel your whole spine stretch and your hamstrings behind your thighs and knees as well. Hold for 10, gently relax and repeat.

Sciatica Stretch 5 – for the whole spine
Do this every 30-40 minutes that you are working at a desk. Sit up straight, link your fingers together and turn your hands over so the palms face up to the ceiling as you take a deep breath and, tilting your head back to look at your hands, stretch your arms above your head. Stretch as high as you can then release your hands and your breath and lower your arms. Repeat this 3 times before you return to work, revived and refreshed.

Video: Stretches for Sciatica

Video: Exercises for Sciatica

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