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3 Stretches For Sciatica Relief

Is Pain Interrupting Your New Year’s Resolution?

The number one most popular New Year’s resolutions made amongst the US population, is to improve health and fitness through exercise. One of the most common reasons this resolution can fail is due to the onset of back pain. Many patients come into our office this time of year with pain that either resulted from injury while exercising, or pain that came on for seemingly no reason and is keeping them from achieving their exercises goals. 

One of the most common (and most painful!) conditions we see as a result of beginning an exercise regimen or increasing one’s current exercise program is an increase in or onset of back pain – more specifically sciatica. Sciatica is a broad term that many patients use for any type of pain that radiates into their leg or legs. However, not all sciatica is created equal. Causes of pain radiating into the leg can range from a simple muscle spasm to a herniated disc with compressive neuropathy. Many types of lower back and leg pain can be managed with simple exercises but sometimes it is necessary to see a professional.

Top 3 Stretches For Sciatica Relief

There are several useful exercises you can perform on your own to help resolve the causes of radiating lower back pain and pain into the leg. Here’s our top three!

McKenzie Lumbar Extension
McKenzie Extension
  1. Begin lying face down on floor or firm surface with elbows bent and hands under shoulders.
  2. Slowly extend your arms as you press your body upward arching your back and gently squeezing your lower back muscles. Once arms are fully extended, pause momentarily, then slowly lower yourself down to the start position. 
  3. Perform this exercise 10x every hour. STOP this exercise if it seems to worsen your leg pain.
Piriformis Figure 4 Stretch
Piriformis Figure 4 Stretch
  1. Begin lying on your back. Cross one leg over the other, placing ankle on opposite thigh above the knee.
  2. Grasp uncrossed leg under-thigh and gently pull towards the chest. A stretch in the hip of the crossed leg should be felt. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat for prescribed repetitions. 
  3. Perform this stretch 2-3 times per day on the affected side
Psoas Stretch
Psoas Stretch
  1. Start in a lunge with the back knee down.
  2. Keeping your back straight, shift your hips forward until you feel a stretch.
  3. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Switch legs and repeat until you feel adequately stretched.

When To See A Professional


If pain persists despite trying these exercises or you develop numbness, tingling, or weakness, then it is time to see a professional. There could be a more significant issue causing the pain, or you just may need additional muscle work, stretches, and exercises outside of what you can do on your own.

If pain is keeping you from reaching your 2021 goals, schedule an appointment at one of our offices today!

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