Stretches matter to the entire body, regardless of an existing physical injury or not. As a greater part of yoga, stretches are great for the overall wellbeing, and can help treat sciatic nerve issues. Due to sitting too much, not exercising enough or hereditary factors, the sciatic nerve can become easily inflamed. With that comes a significant amount of pain, accompanied by tingling sensations and immobility.
However, as simple as it may sound, stretching the body during the day (even at work!), can help you release sciatica-related pain. To learn which stretches work back for this type of pain, read the list below.
8 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief
Sciatica Mobilized Stretch
Lie with your back flat on your yoga mat and set a pillow under your head. Pull up one knee towards the chest and hug it with two hands. Be gentle and extend the leg upwards for 30 seconds. Retrieve to original posture and switch legs. Repeat the stretch three times for each leg and keep in mind to breathe properly while doing the exercise.
Begin by lying on the back on your yoga mat, using a pillow or cushion for your head. Place the hands on both knees and start bringing the knees towards the chest. Once stretched (you should feel it in your lower back), hold for 30 seconds and retrieve to original posture. Repeat the stretch three times and breathe deeply as you exercise.
Piriformis Muscle Stretch
Start on your back and support your head with a cushion or a pillow. Bend the legs at the knees and cross one leg over the other, bent knee. Using your hands, hold the thigh of the unmoving leg. Start pulling gently towards the chest until you feel the stretch in your buttocks and the crossed leg nerve. Hold for 30 seconds, then release and return to original posture. Switch sides and repeat. Do a total of 6 reps, 3 for each leg.
Begin on all fours on your yoga mat. Make sure your hands are in line with your shoulders and the knees in line with the hips. Use the abs to slowly arch your back upwards, not moving from the intended posture. Inhale deeply, and exhale as you slowly drop the belly down, as far as it goes. Do not force yourself to do the stretch, but keep a steady pace and use your breath and core to move. When going upwards, keep the back arched for 10 seconds and hold it another 10 seconds when lowering the belly. Repeat for a total of 12 times.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Standing up, pull your feet together and find a sturdy object to help your stretch. You can use a table, a chair or any hard surface that won’t collapse. Lift one leg and support the heel on the sturdy object in front of you. Bend at the waist and keep the spine upright at all times. As soon as you feel the stretch, remain in the position for 30 seconds, and then switch legs and repeat. Make sure that, during the stretch, your knees are not bent. Do a total of 6 reps, 3 for each leg.
Frog Pose (Advanced version)
If you are not an advanced yoga student, skip over this stretch as you can injure yourself even more. However, if you can do it, get on all fours and keep the knees as wide as your mat. Make sure your calf and foot touch the floor when exercising. Lower the body over the mat, until you can support yourself on the forearms. Hold posture for 30 seconds and repeat the exercise 3 times.
Start by lying on your back and bending your knees, with feet flat on the mat. Extend your arms on each side, basically making your body into a capital ‘T’. Keep the shoulders flat on the mat as well. Begin rotating both knees (one comes on top of the other) to the side, until you feel a significant stretch in the sciatica. Hold for a minute before returning to original position. Switch sides and repeat. Do the stretch 3 times for each leg.
Get down on your knees and bend over, so your arms are fully stretched in the front. Keep the crouch position firm and breathe through the muscles as the stretch takes effect. Repeat as needed.