Sciatic nerve irritation is the cause of lower back and hip pain. But, the pain doesn’t localize just there. It can spread downwards and affect the feet and limbs. This problem affects many people and it interferes with their daily lives. This nerve is located deep in the buttock and because of swelling or constriction of the muscle it can cause irritation and pain.
This is the main muscle responsible for the outward movement of the foot, upper leg and hip. When the sciatic nerve passes through the muscle, it can lead to sciatica.
However, there are exercises you can do at home to relieve the pain. Just remember that before doing them, you must warm up first. You can do that by climbing up and down the stairs, marching in place or taking a walk. You should also consult a spine specialist before you start any exercise or stretch, and do the exercises within the comfort zone.
Supine piriformis stretch
Start by lying on the ground and then bend the knees upwards and cross the affected leg over the other leg. Proceed by bending it forward the chest and grab the knee with one of the hands and the ankle with the other hand and pull to the shoulder in line with the ankle so you will feel the stretch. Stay like that for 30 seconds and then release.
If you feel a pinch, then stretch the hip flexors first. If you don’t feel a pinch, pull the sitting leg grabbing the thigh and pulling the leg to the chest.
Standing piriformis stretch
Stand up and position the affected leg over the other one and lower the hip and 45 degree angle and bend the standing knee appropriately. Then, lean forward with your torso and extend the arms to be parallel to the floor. Make sure you keep the spine straight and hold for thirty to sixty seconds and then switch the legs. If you have trouble keeping balance, you can stand with the back on the wall.
Outer-hip piriformis stretch
Position yourself on the floor. Lie down and bend upward the affected leg and place the foot close to the knee of the other leg. Tuck the foot behind the knee of the other foot. Then, twist the leg to the opposite side and face the knee to the ground. In case you are stretching the left leg, place the right hand on the knee raising the other arm in the air. Then, lower the other arm to the opposite direction of the knee and try to touch the shoulder on the floor. Hold for twenty seconds and switch sides. In case you can’t touch the floor with the shoulder, don’t try to do it.
Long adductor stretch
Sit down on the floor and stretch out the legs out as far apart as possible. Then, tilt the torso gently forward and place the hands on the ground right next to each other. After that, lean forward and try to touch the ground with the elbows. If you start feeling pain, stop the process. Hold the position for twenty seconds and get back to the starting position.
Short adductor stretch
Sit on the floor and place your feet soles together in front of the pelvis. Hold your ankles with the opposite hands and push downward with the knees and try to touch the floor with them. Once you fee pain, stop. Flutter like butterfly the legs for thirty seconds. For a deeper stretch, use the elbows. For an even deeper stretch, bend the torso forward and keep the back straight.
Side-lying clam exercise
Start by lying on the side and place the affected hip on the top and bend the legs backwards in order to get the shape of the letter L. Keep the feet over each other and keep the legs parallel, and keep the spine and body straight. Raise the top knee upwards and return it back. Repeat this for fifteen times.
Hip extension exercise
Place the knees and hands on the ground and keep the hands in line with the shoulders. Then, tilt the affected leg and while you bend your knee, raise the leg upwards toward the ceiling. Slowly proceed to lower the leg but without touching the floor and repeat for fifteen times.
Supine piriformis side stretch
Lie on the floor. Keep your legs flat, your back straight, and then bend the affected leg upwards and place the foot on the other leg’s outer side, near the knee. Proceed by pulling the knee of the affected leg with the opposite hand across the body’s midline until you feel the stretch. Make sure you don’t lift the hips and shoulders off the floor. Hold for thirty seconds and then, switch legs. Repeat for two to three times.
Again, put your hands and knees on the floor and bring the foot of the affected leg under the trunk and twist it to the opposite side. Point the knee toward the shoulder and lower the head so you will touch the floor with the forehead. You can lean the forearms on the floor for support. Then, continue by stretching your healthy leg behind you and keep straight the pelvis. Afterwards, push the hips to the floor and hold for thirty seconds. Repeat two to three times.
Sit on a chair and cross your affected leg over the other. Then, slightly bend forward, but keep the back straight. Stay in that position for couple of breaths and if you don’t feel pain, you can bend a bit further. Stay like this for thirty seconds and release slowly and do this with the other leg.