Nothing sidelines an athlete or exercise junkie faster than a bout of sciatica. The pain can be excruciating and it can last anywhere from a few days to months. The root cause can be different from person to person but is most commonly caused by a pinched nerve in the lower back or the compression of the sciatic nerve itself, which runs from the base of the spine through the piriformis muscle in the butt and down the femur.
If you’ve had this kind of back pain at any time in your life, you likely have a propensity for it and you will want to take proactive steps to lessen the likelihood that it ever flares up again. Exercises and stretches can be extremely effective tools for preventing this painful condition.
These stretches can help heal, prevent, and relieve pain. If you’re looking to find relief or prevent the back pain altogether, make these moves a part of your regular routine.
Deep Glute Stretch
Standing Toe Touch
Seated Hip Stretch
IT Band Stretch
Hip Flexor Stretch
Crossover Hamstring Reach
These exercises should be done for 30-60 seconds each. Doing the moves at least 3 times a week can help relieve the pain of a pinched nerve or prevent it from flaring up again.
All of these should be done using slow, controlled movements. Never use jerky motions or momentum to get more range of movement.
Since the root cause of sciatica is often a herniated or bulging disc it is important to build strong abdominal back and oblique muscles to protect the spine in the future as well as increasing your flexibility throughout your trunk and hips.
If you are in the middle of a spell of back pain you should talk to your doctor or chiropractor about whether or not these exercises might be helpful for you.