Sciatic nerve pain can be quite debilitating. It’s the sudden shock like pain that travels all the way down to your toes from the back and can pretty much take your breath away. A lot of people wrongly term buttock or back pain as sciatic nerve pain. But it’s only called sciatica when the pain is felt below the knee all the way down to the ankle or foot. It happens because of the pressure on the sciatic nerve that originates in the lower back but goes all the way down to your big toe after giving out branches to the structures on the back of your legs. The pressure can be because of various causes from a bulging disc to an extremely tight piriformis muscle. But this constant irritation can actually cause the nerve to tighten up as well. Most common reason for sciatic nerve pain is the compression due to a bulging disc in the back which can lead to low back pain. Hence, the exercises that I am going to discuss are also going to focus on core strengthening and stretching of the sciatic nerve.

Stretching the sciatic nerve to ease the sciatic nerve pain

Believe it or not, the nerves get tight too! Just like the muscles. The constant irritation on the sciatic nerve that causes the sciatic nerve pain can actually make the nerve tissue less flexible. And this can further cause pain. So by doing simple stretching techniques like the exercise below, it helps to reduce the irritation on the nerve. It’s a simple exercise that requires you to lie on your back and go through a series of movements in a sequential manner. We start with bending the hip towards your chest and holding that strecth for 5-10 seconds.Next we let go slightly to allow the knee to extend as much as possible and hold that position for another 5-10 seconds. And finally with the knee extended, we are going to flex the foot in towards us and hold that position again for 5-10 seconds. The whole idea is to stretch the sciatic nerve thorugh it’s course starting from the hip , all the way down to the toes. This will certainly help in reducing sciatic nerve pain.

Lumbar rotations for sciatic nerve pain relief

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This is quite an interesting stretch because you can actually hear your spine “crack”! No need to see a chiropractor! (haha..just kidding).

You basically have to lie flat on your back with the leg experiecing sciatic nerve pain bent at the knee. Now you lift your hip up and twist to the other side and hold that position for about 5-10 seconds. It will feel like a good stretch to your back as well. Now make sure you only twist away from the painful side and not actually do this stretch on both sides if you’re suffering from sciatic nerve pain. It’s important to make sure that you’re shoulders are not twisting , they’ll move a bit but we don’t want you to start rolling over. This also helps in releasing the muscles on the affected side of the buttock and lower back.

Buttock muscle strengthening for sciatic nerve pain relief

Whether the sciatic nerve is getting compressed in your lower back or the buttocks, stregthening the buttock muscles or the gluts (as we lovingly call them) will help to stabilise your pelvic area and help heal sciatic nerve pain. In which case starting with a simple exercise like bridging can help activate the right muscles. You can then add challenegs like using a theraband or a soft ball squeezed between the knees to add more challenge to the muscles. This not only activates the deeper muscles of your abdominals but also the pelvic floor muscles that help in protecting the back. Thus doing specific strengthening exercises for the buttocks will help in recovery from sciatic nerve pain. The key here is to progress slowly.

Sciatic  nerve pain can progress very quickly into a more severe issue. Hence, it’s important to get treated as soon as you start feeling leg pain. If you or anyone you know is suffering from it, be sure to click below to book a session with our physiotherapist who are experienced in treating these issues.