Are you suffering from sciatic nerve pain? Do over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol and Aleve, give you little to no relief? If so, sciatic nerve stretches might be just what the doctor ordered.
These stretches are specifically designed to reduce the pressure on your lumbar spine and increase the space between your intervertebral discs. This takes the pressure off the impinged nerves in your lower back, reducing your pain. When you’re ready to learn these simple stretches and finally find some relief, read on.
- Hamstring Stretch
Tight hamstrings can press on your sciatic nerve as it enters the sciatic notch, causing sciatic nerve pain. To reduce that pressure, you must loosen your hamstrings. Here’s how:
Stand with one foot in front of the other, about 3 feet apart. Make sure your knees are bent from 5 to 15 degrees.
Ensure your shoulders and hips are aligned, both facing forward. This step may be difficult to determine. If so, use a mirror or check with a partner.
Now, put your hands on your hips. If you have problems with balance or coordination, you can place your hands on a chair instead. Just make sure the back of the chair faces your side.
Bend forward, folding at the waist. Keep your back straight. Hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.
- Lumbar Stretch
Did you know that herniated discs are the cause of 90% of sciatica cases? Other causes include injuries such as pelvic fractures, bone spurs, pregnancy, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, otherwise known as spinal stenosis. The following is one of the best sciatic nerve exercises to reduce the pressure on your intervertebral discs.
Lie down on your back with your head on the ground. Gently pull your knees up and slip your hands under your knees. Now pull your knees to your chest.
Hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Sciatic Nerve Desensitization
A good sciatica treatment program will use a broad approach. Sure, that includes stretches. It may also include the following:
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- TENs therapy
If you cannot reduce the pressure on your sciatic nerve due to pregnancy, you can also try a desensitization stretch. Here’s how:
Sit upright on the edge of a chair, feet together on the ground, facing forward.
Now, straighten one leg. With the foot on that leg, slowly flex your ankle, so your toes point toward the wall then toward the ceiling.
Repeat this flexion and extension 15 times. Then repeat the process on the other leg. Complete 3 rounds of this process for each leg.
Your Sciatic Nerve Stretches and Your Treatment Plan
Sciatic nerve stretches take less than 10 minutes to perform. You can use them at work, school, and while traveling. If you want to improve your health, the key is to use these stretches in conjunction with a rehabilitation program from your health care provider.
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