Back pain can strike when you have been sitting or standing in the same position for a long time or doing work involving repetitive motion or lifting. Stretching your spine and back muscles can help relieve back pain from sciatica. Pain may radiate down through your lower spine, buttocks, thighs and legs. You may even wake up with sciatica pain in the morning, needing quick relief to get started with your busy day. Here are some stretching exercises to try when persistent back pain is getting you down:
Note: While stretching, breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Rest/relax for 5-10 seconds between each stretch. Stretch gently--don’t force the movement or over-stretch. Don’t do any exercise or movement that causes pain.
- Alternating knees to chest: Lie down on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold the right thigh behind the knee and pull the knee to your chest, keeping the left foot flat on the floor. Keep your lower back pressed to the floor and hold 30 seconds. Lower bent leg so right foot is back on the floor. Pause, rest. Do 2-4 reps per leg.
- Floor twist: While lying on your back, extend your arms out on the floor on either side, at a 90 degree angle to your body (or less if it feels better). Keep your right leg straight out on the floor. Place your left foot on the floor next to your right knee. As you exhale, let your left knee fall slowly towards the right side, keeping your right shoulder on the floor. Inhale as you slowly lift the left knee up about 2 inches from the floor and hold it there. As you exhale, release it back down. Relax in this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 4 times per leg.
- Bridge pose: Lie on the floor, knees bent with both feet on the ground, about shoulder distance apart. Inhale while lifting your tailbone, pushing your heels into the floor as you slowly “peel” your spine up from it, ending in bridge position. Exhale, releasing your spine back to the floor, one vertebrae at a time from neck down to lower back. Repeat 4 times. When finished, hug knees to chest, holding this stretch for a few breaths.
- Torso twister: This is perfect if you’re sitting in your desk chair at work or if you have access to a sturdy chair with arms. Take care if your chair has wheels—lock them in place or brace the chair to prevent swiveling/rolling. Sit facing forward and slowly turn your torso (head, neck, shoulders chest and waist) toward the left side, gripping the chair back with your left hand and the chair arm with your right. Hold 5-10 seconds, slowly return to facing front and repeat, this time turning to the right side.
One or more of these stretching exercises should offer sciatica pain relief. Daily stretching exercises along with regular core-strengthening workouts will help you stay strong to avoid future pain episodes. Check with your doctor for advice about an exercise program tailored to your specific health needs.
If you suffer from sciatica back pain or other types of back pain, make sure to avail yourself of natural non-invasive back pain treatments, including Functional Disc Rehydration™. This proven back pain relief treatment was developed by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer at the Illinois Back Institute. Using this rejuvenating back treatment, the Institute has helped many patients improve their quality of life--and banish their back pain. Contact us at the Illinois Back Institute for a free consultation with a back specialist today.