Stretching helps relax the muscles giving some relief to sciatic pain. Relaxing the muscles of the low back, buttocks and hamstrings relieves pressure on the lower nerves, relieving pain.
Stretch#1: The Knee To Chest Stretch
To perform this stretch lay on your back. Bring one knee up toward your chest, and with both hands pull that knee toward your chest. Hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds, relax, and repeat one or two more times again holding 10-20 seconds.
Pull your knee toward your chest by grabbing your leg underneath your knee. Grasping on top of the knee is ok also but if you suffer from knee pain, arthritis or other knee problems, grasping underneath the knee may be more comfortable.
You can do this particular strecth on the floor, in the bed, even standing if you prefer. Stretch one leg at a time and then also pull both legs up simultaneously while laying flat. This stretch you will feel in your low back, gluteus (buttocks), and hamstring muscles.
Stretch #2: The Piriformis Stretch
Perform stretch #1 with one leg crossed over the other. For example, cross your Left leg over your Right leg and pull your Right knee toward your chest.
This will stretch your Left piriformis muscle. Keep in mind that this stretch is significantly harder to do than stretch #1. Some may not even be able to perform this stretch, and if trying it causes you pain I would stop immediately.
If you can perform this stretch, it is often a huge benefit. You'll feel this stretch in the gluts (butt muscles - the piriformis is located at the lower buttocks), where the sciatic nerve starts out.
For more information on low back and sciatica stretches and or sciatica relief treatment visit www.ctbackdr.com. You can also call the office at 633-8756 and one of the doctors can help you with a customized stetching routine for your back.
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I used to be in pretty good shape. Then, I sat on my butt for a year, staring at the computer and when I got around to finally trying to get back to daily excersize I found I'd developed sciatica. After less than a mile of walking my entire left leg would be numb and afterward it would be rather painful. I tried to play tennis (something I used to be pretty good at) and lasted 20 minutes before the pain drove me off the court.
So, I looked up stretches that would help and came upon this one. TWO DAYS after I started doing this cross-legged stretch I was playing for 50 minutes. It has now been two weeks and I am able to play two full matches a day.