What are the Different Types of Sciatica Stretches?

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  • Written By: Angela Williams Duea
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2019
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Sciatica, also called radiculopathy, is a persistent lower back and leg pain, sometimes accompanied by leg numbness. This pain occurs when the sciatic nerves of the pelvis and legs are irritated by displaced spinal disks or disease. Sciatica stretches relieve pressure on the nerves and strengthen the supporting muscles of the lower back. While some lower back problems require medical attention, these stretches will often completely eliminate sciatica.

Hamstring stretches are a type of sciatica stretches that loosens the leg and hip muscles, allowing the pelvis to move more freely. These stretches should be performed by stretching one leg and then the other while a person lies on his or her back. To do the first stretch, a person raises one leg straight up in the air while holding the thigh with both hands. In the second stretch, the knee that is straight up is bent and held with the opposite hand. The knee is then pulled across the body, held, and then return to center.


Back-bend type exercises, such as press-ups and standing back-bends, help ease the pain of bulging spinal disks that press against the sciatic nerve. These exercises help realign the back and strengthen the muscles of the pelvis. To do a lying back-bend, a person lies on his or her stomach with legs pressed against the floor before slowly raising the head and torso with the arms. To do a standing back-bend, a person stands with his or her hands on the hips and bends the upper body backward for several seconds.

Leg rolls are good for loosening all the muscles and joints around the pelvic area, which again relieves pressure and allows the spine to regain proper alignment. Typically, leg rolls are performed by a person when lying on his or her back, holding the knees against the chest with both arms. The knees are rolled to one side and then the other while keeping the shoulders pressed against the ground.

Generally, leg lifts are excellent sciatica stretches to ease pressure and strengthen the muscles so that they hold the back in a correct posture. A person should try lying on his or her stomach, lifting one leg at a time about 6 to 12 inches (about 15.24 to 30.48 cm) off the ground. The same sciatica stretching can be done while lying on the back.

Finally, the pelvic tilt can strengthen the entire back area and buttocks while providing relief from disk pressure. While a person lies on his or her back with feet on the floor and knees bent, the pelvis is lifted off the floor and the buttocks are pressed together. The position is held before the pelvis is returned to the floor.

As with all exercise, a person should stop sciatica stretches if he or she feels pain and should consult a doctor if the pain persists. Each pose should be held for at least ten seconds and gradually worked up to 30 seconds. For maximum effect, these sciatica stretching exercises should be performed ten times each, several times each day. Consistent effort will provide the best benefit, and many sciatica sufferers find the pain disappears completely after regular stretching.



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