Sciatic pain can sideline you, putting you in bed and taking the fun out of life. The pain is caused by the sciatic nerve being pinched in the lower back. The cause of this pinched nerve can vary from a herniated disc to lumbar spinal stenosis to degenerative disc disease to spondylolisthesis to pregnancy to a muscle spasm. Only a doctor is qualified to diagnose sciatica.
Once you have that diagnosis, you want to explore with your doctor what you can do at home to help manage the discomfort. Check with your specialist to see if these stretches would be appropriate for you.
The first four are recommended by Medical News Today and require nothing more than some flexibility and your body.
- Knees to chest. While lying flat on your back, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet flat onto the floor. Draw your knees to your chest, gently pulling them to your chest with your hands. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then release. Repeat the stretch three times.
- Lie flat on your stomach, elbows bent, and palms flat on the floor at your chest. Push up with your palms to straighten the elbows, keeping your legs straight. Your chest should rise off the floor to almost 45 degrees. Hold the pose for five seconds and then lower. Repeat the stretch 10 times.
- Seated hip. Sit in a chair with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Place the ankle of the affected leg on the knee of the opposite leg. If your right leg is the one that is experiencing pain, take your right ankle and place it on your left knee. Gently bend forward, breathe deeply, and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Seated twist. Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you, keeping you back straight. Bend the left knee up and place the foot flat on the floor. Twist to the left, placing your right elbow to the outside of the left knee. If you exhale as you twist, you will get a better stretch. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, release, and lower the knee so both legs are flat again. Raise the right knee and place the left elbow to the outside of the right knee, turning as you exhale. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
The next four are recommended by WebMD. You’ll need a foam roller for three of the stretches.
- Piriformis stretch. Lie on your back and bend your knees, placing both feet flat on the floor. Take your right ankle and cross it over and onto your left knee. Grab your left knee with both hands, reaching with your right hand between your legs, and gently pull your left leg towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds and release, returning your left foot to the floor. Repeat two times. Now switch legs and do the same thing.
- Leg foam roller. Lie on your back and place a foam roller under your thighs. Roll your thighs and buttocks up and down on the rollers, allowing the hips to flex and the knots in the muscles to be worked out. Roll for one minute.
- Side foam roller. Lie on your side with the foam roller perpendicular to your body. Roll your outer thigh and calf muscles up and down on the roller. Roll for one minute.
- Stomach foam roller. Lie on your stomach with the roller at the top of your hips, perpendicular to the body. Roll from the hips to the knees for one minute, working out the muscles.
If sciatic pain has you benched, able to do the things you need or want to do, contact the specialists at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care today.