Lower back and hip pain can come as a result of an irritation of the sciatic nerve. This pain can spread downwards and can affect the feet and the limbs. It is something many people suffer from, and this pain can affect your daily routine.
The sciatic nerve is located deep in the buttock. Because of its vicinity to the piriformis muscle, swelling or constriction of the muscle can lead to irritation of the nerve and pain.
This muscle connects to the top of the femur of the spine, and it is the main muscle that allows for outward movement of the upper leg, hip and foot from the body. The sciatic nerve passes beneath the piriformis muscle.
Anyhow, in many cases the sciatic nerve passes right through the muscle and leads to sciatica symptoms caused by what is known as piriformis syndrome. This leaves us with pain in the hip and lower back region that won’t disappear.
It is normal that at some point of life, three out of ten people will get an irritation of the sciatic nerve or sciatica.
The leading cause of sciatica is constriction in the piriformis muscle, or swelling, both caused by an injury or spasm. It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor as there may be other more serious causes.
Sciatica treatment involves physical therapy, medications and can even lead to surgery. The oral over the counter medications. Patients are also given muscle relaxants antidepressants for chronic lower back pain and pain medications for more severe pain.
In other words, if the whole treatment is taken into account, the therapy can last for as long as the nerve is irritated. So, if you don’t do something plus about the sciatica you can spend years and years on medications.
Exercises of alleviating sciatica pain
Serving as pain relief exercises, there are some piriformis stretches that you need to try. It is important to note that you must stay within the comfort limits. This means that in tis case, no pain is gain. If you take it even a bit further you can complicate your condition.
Also, before you stretch you must warm up. You can do this by taking a walk, marching in place or climbing up and down a flight of stairs slowly. Whatever warmup activity you choose, you will need to do it a few minutes before you start stretching.
After you are done with the warm up, here are the 10 piriformis stretches for sciatica relief, trust us they are worth it!
It is also very important that before starting any type of stretches or exercises, you should always consult your spine specialist first.
Supine Piriformis Stretch
- You need to lie down and bent your knees upwards.
After that by bending it upwards toward your chest, cross your affected leg over the other leg.
- Grab your ankle with one hand and the knee with the other hand and pull slowly toward your shoulder which is in line with your ankle until you can feel a stretch through the glutes in the buttock.
- Hold like that for 40 – 60 seconds and then release.
- If you don’t feel a stretch in the glutes, you cross your legs ass in step 2 and pull the leg which Is sitting on the floor by grabbing behind your thigh and pulling the leg toward your chest.
Standing Piriformis Stretch
- This is a pretty good exercise for sciatica pain relief.
- Place your affected leg over the other leg’s knee, while you standing (to get what looks line number 4).
- Lower your hips towards the ground possibly at angle at 45-degree, and do that slowly.
- Hold like that for 40 seconds to a minute and when you are done, switch legs.
- You can stand with your back to a wall if you are having trouble balancing, use the wall as a support.
Outer hip Piriformis Stretch
- By placing your foot close to the back of the other leg’s knee, bend your affected leg upwards. Do that while you are lying down.
- With knee touching of facing the ground tuck your foot behind the other one’s knee and then twist your leg to the opposite side.
- Put the one hand that is on the side with the knee (for example if you are starching your left leg, place your right arm on the knee) and raise the other one it the air.
- With the intent to touch the shoulder to the ground, slowly start lowering your other arm towards the opposite direction of the knee.
- Stay put for 30 sec and then change legs.
- After that, return to your starting position and while laying down stretch both legs by bending your legs together and slowly pulling them towards your chest.
- Long Adductor Stretch
- Stretch your legs straight out and as far apart as you can while sitting down on the floor.
- Place your both hands on the floor and gently tilt your torso forward, towards the ground.
- By gently leaning forward, try to touch the ground with your elbows. Tilt forward as long as you feel a comfortable stretch and you should stop when and if you feel pain.
- Hold like that for 15 – 20 seconds.
- Short Adductor Stretch
- Put the soles of your feet together in front of your pelvis while sitting on the ground.
- Grip your ankles with the opposite hands (right hand – left ankle and the other way around).
- With the effort to touch the ground with your knees, gently push them downwards.
- And before any pain occurs you need to stop. If you feel any pain you need to get back few inches and stay put.
- Hold like that for 30 sec then release. Flutter your legs in that position for 40sec.
- Side Lying Clam Exercise
- With the affected hip on the top, lay on the ground.
- Make an “L” shape with your legs by bending them backward. Keep one foot over the other and your legs parallel to each other.
- Your affected hip is directly on the top of the other If your spine and your body are not bent in any way.
- Pay attention to your body, to remain in the original position and with keeping your feet together raise the top knee upward.
- Slowly return your knee to its starting position and repeat that 15-20 times.
- Hip Extension Exercise
- Get on the ground all fours by placing your knees and your hands on the ground.
- Your hands must be in line with your shoulders.
- Take off your weight of the affected leg and raise it upwards toward the ceiling while the knee remains bent.
- Slowly lower your leg reaching almost the starting position. Repeat that 15-20 times.
- Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
- Lie on the ground with your legs flat and back straight.
- Bend your affected leg upward and then put your foot on the outer side of the other leg, near the knee.
- Gently pull your knee of the affected leg across the midline of your body until you feel a stretch, by using your opposite hand. Loosen up the stretch if you feel any pain.
- Make sure you don’t lift your hips and shoulders of the ground.
- Hold in that position for 40 sec then return to the starting position and do the same with your other leg. Repeat this 3-4 times.
- Buttocks Stretch for the Piriformis Muscle
- Put your knees and arms on the floor.
- Bring the foot of your affected leg underneath the trunk and while pointing with your knee toward the shoulder, twist it toward the opposite side, near the hip.
- Lower your head until your forehead reaches the ground, and then lean your forearms on the ground for support.
- While keeping your pelvis straight, gently stretch your non affected leg out behind you.
- Slightly push your hips toward the floor.
- Hold like that for around 30 sec and slowly return to your starting position
- Repeat at least 2-3 times.
- Seated Stretch
- Cross your affected leg over your other leg’s knee while sitting on a chair.
- While keeping your spine straight at all times bend slightly forward and bring your chest forward.
- Hold like that for couple of breaths and if you don’t feel any pain try to bend it a bit further.
- Stay like that for around 30 sec and slowly release
- Then do the same with your other leg.