As many as 40% of Americans experience sciatica, the collective name of the symptoms that arise from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. It creates pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness, not just at the site of compression. Sciatica has the potential to crop up anywhere along the nerve.
When you’re suffering from sciatica, relief is usually first on your mind. Contact the sciatica experts at Westside Pain Specialists for an examination and treatment plan to get over the acute phase.
Managing sciatica pain and avoiding recurrence can take a concerted effort. Try these stretches if you have or have had sciatica.
Opposite shoulder knee raise
Lying on your back, raise one leg, bent at the knee, and grasp the knee with both hands. Pull the knee up, but point it to the opposite shoulder. That is, if you raise your right knee, pull in the direction of your left shoulder.
The aim here is to stretch both the gluteal and piriformis muscles, which are in close proximity with the path of the sciatic nerve. As you pull, you’ll feel a stretch, diagonally across your buttocks.
There should be no pain, only a stretching sensation. Hold it for 30 seconds, increasing the pull to maintain the stretch. Do the same with the other leg. Alternate sides until you’ve done three repetitions with each leg.
Starting with the leg on the side of your sciatica pain, raise it and cross it over the other knee in a seated position at the edge of your chair. Keeping your spine straight, bend forward.
Keep your raised leg parallel to the floor and your lower leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Feeling the stretch is good, and stop if you feel pain. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. A single stretch on each side is good.
Standing straight and tall with your feet together, raise a leg straight and rest it on a surface that’s just below your hip height. Hold it straight but don’t lock it.
Keeping your spine straight, bend forward at the waist, feeling the stretch along the back of your leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg. Improving flexibility in the hamstring can relieve stress on the lower back and, potentially, reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
There are plenty of stretch exercises that can help ease the symptoms of sciatica. The best are those that you do regularly with the proper form. Incorporating stretches and other low-impact, moderate exercises like walking and swimming can keep you flexible and pain-free.
Call on Dr. James Nassiri at Westside Pain Specialists when the pain from sciatica interferes with your day. Call the nearest of his offices in Beverly Hills and Rancho Cucamonga to book a consultation today.