Our sciatic nerve begins in the lower back, running down both our legs and ends in our feet. Pain is felt if there is any sort of pressure on the sciatic nerve. Such pain is referred to as sciatica. Pain is also felt when a spinal disc starts to deteriorate or develops a disease, or when the discs protrudes and push against the nerve. When the piriformis muscle (the muscle running perpendicular the sciatic nerve) tightens, sciatic symptoms likewise occur.
People with sciatica will feel a nagging pain in the lower back. They will also experience quick, sharp bolts of pain down either or both legs. Depending on the severity, sciatica patients’ pain can range from mild to debilitating. Sciatica can also cause a tingling feeling or numbness in the legs.
You may want to try some of these stretches to help ease sciatica symptoms:
- Piriformis muscle stretch – Sit with one leg stretched in front of you. Hold onto the ankle of your other leg and pull it back towards your chest. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds and then repeat with the opposite leg.
- Lower back and gluts stretch – Sit on the floor with both legs outstretched in front of you. Bend your right leg at the knee and cross it over your outstretched left leg so that your right ankle is resting on your left knee. Bend your upper body forward over your legs and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with your other leg.
- Hip stretch – While seated on the floor, cross your right leg over your straightened left leg. Keep your back straight and hug your right knee to your stomach with your left arm. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat with your other leg.
- Extensions – Here’s how you can strengthen your spinal column, ease sciatica pain and even help prevent further aggravation. To do extensions, lie on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched out. Raise your right arm and your left leg simultaneously and hold for a few seconds before lowering them back to the ground. Repeat with the other side. Do about 10 reps daily.
Remember that if you experience increased pain while doing these exercises, stop immediately so you don’t further aggravate your injury. Visit Spine Center of Texas if pain persists or gets worse.