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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

3 Exercises That Work to Relieve Sciatica Pain

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 @ 10:44 AM

sciatica stretchesDealing with the intense pain caused by sciatica can be challenging. This condition makes it difficult to do things like walk or bend over as you normally would. When you have sciatica, it means that there’s pressure on your sciatic nerve, which leads to pain and irritation. There are a number of ways to treat this condition and reduce the pain associated with it, including taking pain medication, doing physical therapy and applying heat to the affected area. Sometimes, these methods aren’t effective enough on their own. If you need extra help, here are some exercises that can provide sciatica relief. Check with your doctor before doing these, and don’t continue doing any that cause pain or discomfort. 


Standing Hamstring Stretch

Start this one off by standing straight and placing one of your legs on the bottom step of a staircase or a low stool. Your leg should be perfectly straight, with your toes pointed up. Carefully lean forward, but don’t arch or bend your back at all. Stop leaning once you start feeling any discomfort, and stay in that position for 30 seconds. Breathe deeply during this time. Switch to the other leg, and do a total of two or three standing hamstring stretches at a time for back pain relief.


Sciatic Stretch

Lie down on the floor on your back with your head on a small pillow or cushion. Bend both knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should line up with your hips. Lower your chin slightly, and keep the upper part of your body in a relaxed position. Bring one of your knees to your chest, and hold onto your hamstring with both of your hands. Carefully straighten your knee and pull your foot toward you. Stay in this position for 30 seconds while breathing deeply. Bend your knee again, then switch to the other leg when you start over. Do this exercise two or three times with each leg.


Back Extensions

Lie flat on your stomach on the floor, and hold the upper part of your body up with your elbows. Keep your shoulders as far back as possible without being uncomfortable. Stretch your neck forward, and don’t bend it back at any time while doing this exercise. Push down on your hands gently and arch your back. Take deep breaths, and hold this position for 10 seconds before starting over. Do this eight to ten times during each exercise session. 


In addition to doing these exercises, consider trying other forms of treatment that can help relieve sciatica pain. One example is Functional Disc Rehydration, which is a nonsurgical treatment method that involves taking pressure off of affected discs in the spinal column. This can greatly reduce pain and lower the risk of having it return.


To learn more about sciatica treatments, including Functional Disc Rehydration, please contact the Illinois Back Institute. Our treatment methods have proven successful for those suffering from back pain. 


Want to Learn More About Sciatica? Get Access to the Sciatica Resource Center!

Topics: sciatica, Stretches, Chronic Back Pain