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Best Stretching For Sciatica

When your sciatic nerve is pinched in the lower back and hips, it can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Stretching can be one of the best ways to treat sciatica pain, but how do you know you’re doing the best stretching for sciatica? In this article we will answer that very question! For starters, it‘s important to warm up the muscles and tissues of the body before you start, stretching cold muscles can be harmful.

Stretching For Sciatic Nerve Pain

 If possible, start with some gentle walking or go on a gentle jog for a few minutes so that you don’t stretch your hips and low back cold, then start stretching. Some of the best stretches for sciatica include the seated hamstring stretch, the piriformis stretch, and even eliminate your low back glute pain(quick and easy) with low back hip pain stretches which we will cover as you continue below. One of the main considerations is to stretch slowly and gently and never stretch to the point of pain. You may even try massage for sciatica, getting help from from one of the best massage therapists in Portland, Oregon at IMMERSE Modern Massage.

Man with back pain sitting on bench at the outdoor.

How Do You Stretch Piriformis?

Piriformis is one of the most important muscles to consider when treating sciatica, see the picture below for a visual. To stretch this muscle, we’ll do something called a Figure 4 Stretch. First start by lying flat on your back with both knees bent and both feet flat on the ground. Then cross one leg over the other, so that the ankle of the top leg is rests on top of the knee. Then, using your hands, reach behind your thigh on the leg that’s planted on the floor, and gentle draw that knee in toward your chest, gently press away from your body on the opposite knee. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat. You can also try this same movement/stretch while seated and see if that’s easier for you. Remember to breathe deeply and relax your body as you stretch and not to stretch to the point of pain or discomfort. This is a simple way of how to release tension from the hips and low back, hopefully alleviating some of the stress from a pinched sciatica. If there’s any pain or discomfort, or shooting pain down the leg, stop immediately and consult your massage therapist.

How Do You Stretch Your Hamstrings?

Next, we’ll talk about the seated hamstring stretch. You may remember this from P.E. class in grade school. Start by sitting on the ground with both legs extended out in front of you, bringing your legs as flat as possible(you can also do this one leg at a time). Then, slowly reach hinge at the waist and bend forward with both hands towards your toes. If you can’t reach your toes, that’s okay, just reach your hands down your legs and do the best you can. Make sure to keep your back and neck and chest up as straight as possible. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and then slowly release. 

One other helpful stretch for sciatica can be to stretch your glutes to release your low back and hips. Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Next, cross your right ankle over your left thigh and bend your left knee until you feel a stretch in your glute. Hold that position for 2030 seconds and then switching sides.  Remember to always be practice mindfulness and consider how your body feels during the stretch, and only go as far as you feel comfortable, never to the point of feeling pain. If you feel pain, stop, and consider seeing one of the massage therapists here at IMMERSE Modern Massage.

How Do You Stretch Your Hip Flexors?

Kneeling hip flexor runner‘s lunge stretch is also a great way to stretch and release tension from muscles from a pinched sciatic nerve. This stretch is done by getting into a lunge position, with your back knee on the ground and your front foot flat on the floor. Then, start to lean forward, tucking your hips and pelvis under you using your core, and then press your hips forward to deepen the stretch. You may feel this all the way into the knee, and then also deep into the front of your hips Additionally, you can also reach your arm up on the opposite site and bend it over your head to further increase the stretch on the opposite side – being sure to support yourself with a chair or wall if necessary. Doing this stretch regularly can help to improve your hip mobility and reduce tightness which can lead to sciatic pain.

back pain stretch

All in all, stretching can be extremely beneficial for Sciatica, especially muscles around the hips, lower back, but if you need extra help, we are here for you. Visit our clinic here in Southeast Portland to get some help from the best massage therapists in Portland.

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Author: Mason Palmer

Founder / Massage Therapist

IMMERSE Modern Massage

Mason is a master massage therapist in Portland, Oregon, with over 10,000 hours of hands on work. His expertise in deep tissue anatomy, myofascial release, and trauma-informed somatic therapy. He is also a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and has received Reiki Master level training from three different schools. Mason has explored various healing practices, including Mindfulness Meditation, Personal Training, Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine, for over a decade. He is the author of “Energy Healing, One Truth Many Teachers” and is known for his proven track record for creating plans of care for his clients to overcome pain and discomfort in their body, and to make sure that pain doesn’t come back.

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