5 Sciatica Stretches For Pain Relief

Sciatica is a nerve pain caused by an injury or irritation in the sciatica nerve that usually originates in the buttock area. The sciatica nerve is considered the longest and the thickest nerve in your entire body. It comprises five nerve roots, out of which two are from the lower back region, called the lumbar spine, and three from the final section of the spine, the sacrum. The five nerve roots form the left and right sciatica nerves. On each side of your body, one sciatica nerve runs through your hips, buttocks, and down the leg that ends just below the knee. 

How Does Sciatica Pain Feel Like?

Different people describe sciatica pain differently, which usually depends on its cause. Some describe it as sharp or shooting, while others describe it as burning pain. 

There can be constant pain, or the pain may even come and go. Also, the pain may be more severe in your leg than in your lower back. The pain may even worsen if you sit or stand for extended periods. A force or sudden body movements like coughing or sneezing may also worsen the pain. A trained physical therapist for sciatica pain relief can be very helpful in helping you to get relief from the pain and discomfort. 

Stretches For Pain Relief

Certain sciatica stretches may provide great relief for people experiencing sciatica-related pain. Most people with sciatica pain find that stretching can be beneficial in relieving pain. However, anyone with certain symptoms must speak with the doctor before getting involved in stretching exercises. 

A physical therapist may recommend that people perform several stretches every day. Some of those include the following:

  • Knees to Chest – This exercise helps in promoting spinal flexion and alleviates compressed tissues over the sciatica nerve. A person can do this exercise with both knees or just one knee at a time. Let’s have a look at some of these:
  • Lie down flat on the back with the knees bent and the soles of the feet on your floor. 
  • Slowly hug the knees into your chest by raising both of your knees simultaneously or one knee at once. 
  • Hold for about 5 seconds before you release the stretch, and repeat on the other side as necessary. 
  • Cobra or modified cobra – The cobra pose usually works on spinal extension. Extending the spine can help by alleviating pressure from your herniated disc. To perform this exercise, you must do the following:
  • Lie on your stomach by extending your legs together, then bend your elbows by placing your palms on the floor by the chest. 
  • For carrying out a full cobra, you must fully straighten your elbows by lifting your chest as much as possible above the floor. Hold on to the same position for about 10 seconds and then return to the same starting position. 
  • Seated hip stretch – The seated hip stretch is an example of a piriformis stretch. When the piriformis muscle becomes irritated, it can place pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is closely associated with the piriformis, and it travels from the spine through the piriformis to power the legs. To perform the exercise, you must do the following:
  • Try sitting on a chair by keeping your feet on the floor, and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Then try to raise your affected leg and cross the ankle of your opposite knee. 
  • Then try gently bending forward over your crossed leg by breathing deeply and holding for 30 seconds before you release. 
  • Standing hamstring stretch – The hamstring attaches to the ischial tuberosity, which is the bone that comes into contact with a surface area when a person is seated. Increased flexibility in the hamstring results in less low back stress and pressure on the sciatic nerve. To do the following exercise, you need to do the following steps:
  • You must start by standing tall and by keeping your feet together.
  • Then lift the affected leg straight out in front and rest the heel on a ledge or table just below the hips’ height.
  • Keeping the knee straight but soft, bend forward at the waist, maintaining a straight spine until there is a stretch in the back of the leg.
  • Keep in the same position for about 30 seconds before releasing. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the other side’s stretch.
  • Reclining pigeon pose – This stretching exercise may be beneficial in releasing the tension in your hips. To do this exercise, you must do the following steps:
  • Lie on your back and bend your knees. Place the right ankle over the left thigh at a right angle.
  • Lock the hands behind the left thigh and pull them gently toward the body.
  • Hold the position for as long as feels comfortable, and then repeat with the other leg.


Sciatica usually affects one leg at one time. But it may also occur in both legs together. There are various causes of sciatica pain, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, arthritis, etc., which can be treated well with multiple techniques or exercises of physical therapy. Physical therapy treatment methods can be very beneficial for providing long-term relief from pain or inflammation. You may contact a certified physical therapist for sciatica pain relief to guide you with the proper techniques and methods for relieving sciatica pain. 

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