5 Sciatica Stretches for Back Pain Relief

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sciatica stretches

Finding relief from your sciatica back pain can feel like a lot of trial and error, and the symptoms of pain, numbness and tingling make it a challenge to live your life. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve in your lumbar or lower spine becomes pinched, inflamed or irritated. Sciatica can be so painful that you may have difficulty moving, walking, or even getting off the couch. Try these 5 sciatica stretches for back pain relief, which may help you feel better, even during a flare-up.

Exercise and Stretch Carefully

Remember, it’s important to go slowly and take your time. Always talk with your doctor before you try any new stretches for back pain relief. You and your doctor will work together to create a treatment and exercise regimen to help you feel better and get relief. Here are some stretches you may want to try.

1. Reclining Pigeon Pose

reclining pigeon pose

Reclining pigeon pose is a yoga stretch that can help with back pain. This pose works by helping to open the hips. While there are other versions of pigeon pose, it’s best to start with the gentlest version—reclining pigeon pose. Here’s what to do:

  • Lie on your back.
  • Raise your right leg up, bringing it to a right angle.
  • Clasp both of your hands behind your thigh and lock your fingers together.
  • Lift up your left leg.
  • Place your right ankle on the top of your left knee.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Repeat this process with the other leg.

2. Knee to Opposite Shoulder Stretch

knee to chest pose

The knee to the opposite shoulder stretch may help relieve your back pain by relaxing your gluteal (butt) muscles and other muscles in your lower back.

  • Lie on your back (in resting position) with your legs out straight and your toes pointing up.
  • Bend your right knee and grasp your knee with both hands.
  • Very gently pull your right leg across your body and toward your left shoulder. You should feel gentle stretching but not pain.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Bring your knee and leg back to resting position.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Now change legs and repeat the process for your left leg toward your right shoulder.

3. Sitting Spinal Stretch

spine twist pose

In the sitting spinal stretch, you can gently stretch your spine to help create some space in the areas that can become compressed. Here’s how:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended out and your toes pointing up.
  • Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the outside of your left knee.
  • Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. This will help you gently turn your body to the right.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Switch to your left leg and repeat the steps.

4. Press Up Stretch

cobra pose

For gentle full back relief, try the press up stretch. You may feel this stretch from your tailbone all the way up. Remember to go slowly and to take your time.

  • Lie on your stomach with your elbows underneath your shoulders.
  • Keep your forearms flat on the floor.
  • Lift your chest and allow your body to extend upward from your tailbone to your neck.
  • Allow your back to arch gently.
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times.

5. Knees to Chest Stretch

happy baby pose

Also known as happy baby pose, the knees to chest stretch is gentle yet effective. All you have to do is give yourself a hug. Here’s how to do this stretch:

  • Lie on your back on a soft surface like your bed.
  • Slowly bring your knees to your chest, letting your back round.
  • Hug your knees and hold that position for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

Remember to always talk with your doctor before you start or change your exercise or stretching routine. If a stretch hurts, stop. These 5 sciatica stretches for back pain relief are meant to help you feel better. After talking with your doctor, try including these stretches into your daily routine.

For more information on sciatica relief, check out this great guide on How to Choose Shoes for Sciatica from The Babble Out.

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