How to Relieve Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica pain or sciatic nerve pain is intensely painful and disturbing. This pain starts from your lower back, hips, and buttocks, goes down to your legs, and bends at the knees.
A problem may arise anywhere on this nerve path. One of the most common causes of sciatica pain includes a ruptured disk, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), injury and piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis syndrome occurs when your piriformis muscle extends from the buttocks to the top of your thighs.
Sometimes, involuntary muscle contraction (spasm) occurs that traps the sciatic nerve and leads to sciatica pain.
Certified therapists have highlighted that pain in the sciatic nerve occurs mainly in the lower back and hips.
It can happen due to a variety of reasons; therefore you should focus on treatment and remedies. Renowned doctors and therapists have recommended performing stretching for some relief.
You can try several stretching exercises to minimize sciatica and lower back pain. For better results, you must perform exercises daily and consume a nutritional diet.
You must consume foods that improve your immunity and reduce inflammation. If you are experiencing immense pain, you should consult a doctor for medications. Home remedies and stretching exercise strengthens your back and reduces pain.
You can perform different exercises such as reclining pigeon pose, cobra pose, standing hamstring stretch, etc.
Listed below are some of the most effective exercises that you can perform at home as well as other proven remedies to relieve Sciatica pain.
7 Exercises to Relieve Sciatica Pain
These stretching exercises are highly effective in reducing sciatic nerve pain. Most people have highlighted the benefits of stretching in eliminating sciatica pain.
If you have certain symptoms, you should consult a doctor and seek permission to perform these exercises to avoid any injury.
These stretching exercises eliminate the pain in the sciatic nerve by minimizing muscle tensions, improving your posture, strengthening the core ability, and reducing compression on the sciatic nerve.
Individuals performing this exercise must do it carefully without pain. Stop doing the exercises if you are experiencing immense pain.
- Reclining Pigeon Pose
Reclining Pigeon Pose is a common yoga pose that opens the hips. The steps to perform the pose are-
- Lie on your back and bring your right leg up to a right angle. Now clasp your hands and lock your fingers behind the thighs.
- Now lift your left leg and place the ankle over the right knee.
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. This pose stretches your piriformis muscle which may cause pain in the sciatic nerve. It even stretches your hip rotator muscles.
- Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Once you have learned to do the reclining pose, you can learn to perform the sitting pose and other advanced versions.
- Knee to the opposite shoulder
It is a simple exercise that relieves your sciatica pain by relaxing your piriformis and gluteal muscles. These muscles get pressed against the sciatic nerve leading to pain.
- Lie on your back, legs extended and feet flexed upwards.
- Now bend your right leg and clasp your hands around the knee
- Now gently try to pull the right leg towards your left shoulder. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Try to pull comfortably as much as you can so that you feel stretched.
- Move to the starting position.
- Repeat the pose at least 3 times for each leg.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch
Standing Hamstring Stretch relieves the pain and tightness in the hamstrings due to sciatic nerve pain. The steps to perform the exercise are-
- You have to place the right foot on an elevated surface or below your hip level. You can use a chair or steps on a staircase to perform this exercise. Flex your foot to keep your toes and foot straight.
- Now slightly bend your body forward towards your foot. The more you bend, the better it would be. Don’t push too much and avoid pain.
- Release the hip of your right leg downward. You can use a yoga strap or a long exercise band for ease of performance.
- Hold it for at least 25-30 seconds. Repeat it on the other side.
- Standing Piriformis Stretch
This is another form of stretch to get rid of sciatica pain. You can perform this exercise without support or you can stand against the wall.
- You have to put your painful leg over the knee of your other leg. Now bend with your other leg and try to make number 4 with your hips. You have to lower the hips to the ground at a 45-degree angle.
- Keep your hands on the waist; bend your waist down keeping your back straight. Stay in this position for at least 40- 60 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise with the other leg.
- Cobra or Modified Cobra
The cobra pose focuses on spinal extension and relieves pain. The steps to perform the pose are-
- Lie on your stomach, and keep your legs straight back together.
- Now bend the elbows and keep the palms on the floor by the chest.
- To perform the full cobra pose, fully straighten the elbows and lift the chest off the floor as per your ability.
- To perform the modified cobra, push through the palms; partially straighten the elbows, and then lift the chest off the floor up to 45 degrees.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Seated Hip Stretch
A seated hip stretch is a form of piriformis stretch that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. The Sciatic Nerve travels from the spine through the piriformis to power the legs. The steps to perform the seated hip stretch is-
- Sit on the chair with feet on the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Raise the painful leg and cross the ankle over the other knee.
- Slowly bend forward over the crossed leg by breathing deeply and holding the position for at least 30 seconds.
- Now release and repeat the process at least 10 times for each leg.
- Seated Spinal Twist
The seated spinal twist minimizes the pressure on joints and the sciatic nerve. The steps to perform a seated spinal twist are-
- Sit up on the floor with legs straight.
- Bend one leg at the knee and place the foot on the floor at the opposite knee. Do it comfortably and try to touch the floor by bending the first leg.
- Now twist towards the bent knee by placing the opposite knee on the outside of the bent knee for a deeper stretch.
- Release and repeat the exercise on the opposite side.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies to Relieve Sciatica Pain
People experiencing pain in the sciatic nerve perform several self-care measures. Prolonged inactivity worsens the symptoms and signs. Some of the sciatica pain treatments include-
- Cold packs
If you keep the cold pack on the painful area, you get some relief. You can keep the cold pack daily for at least 20 minutes for immediate relief from sciatica pain. You can use an ice pack or a frozen pack of peas for a home remedy.
- Hot packs
You can try the hot pack on the affected area daily for sciatica pain relief. If you are experiencing continuous sciatica pain, you can try cold and hot treatment alternatively. You can use a heating pad or hot packs at lower temperatures to avoid skin burns.
Stretching is a highly useful way to get rid of sciatic nerve pain. It eliminates lower back pain and makes you feel better. It relieves you from nerve root compression. For better results, try to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Try to avoid bouncing, twisting, or jerking to avoid injury or pain.
- Over-the-counter medications
In case of unbearable pain, you can opt for painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
Alternative Medicine to Relieve Sciatica Pain
To reduce sciatica lower back pain, you can use alternative solutions or therapies such as –
The practitioner pins hair-thin needles into your skin at specific points for sciatica pain relief. Studies indicate that acupuncture is useful in eliminating lower back pain and better sleep.
Chiropractic helps in spinal movement and reduction of sciatica pain. It is a form of therapy that treats spinal mobility. It is also known as spinal adjustment and manipulation which is considered a standard treatment for back pain.
- Reduce inflammation through a nutritional diet
You should consume a nutritional diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and natural foods which is rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals, and fiber that reduce inflammation. You should include ginger tea, green tea, turmeric, and black tea in your diet as it includes inflammatory substances. It builds your immunity and overall health.
For an anti-inflammatory diet, you should avoid the following items –
- Inflammation-causing foods- you should avoid sugars, trans fats, carbohydrates, and hydrogenated oils.
- The habit of smoking is injurious to health. Smoking increases inflammation in the body and may increase your lower back pain. If you quit smoking, it lowers the production of anti-inflammatory molecules. Before making any changes to the diet, you should consult a doctor related to current medications.
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