Stretching Helps Get Rid of Sciatica

sciatica piriformis

Ever had back pain with pain radiating down the back of your leg? It’s a good chance that you were experiencing sciatica. Sciatica is really nothing more than inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve originates in the buttocks and runs down the back of the leg. When the nerve becomes irritated, you’ll typically feel a throbbing or burning pain down the back of the leg.

Many things can cause sciatica from long car rides to having a wallet in your back pocket. However, the most common cause is the pelvis moving incorrectly which leads to a tight piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve runs under the piriformis. If that muscle gets tight, it can compress that sciatic nerve. This is something that chiropractors see often and we at Family Chiropractic and Wellness can usually help with.

First, we have to stretch the muscle to get it to relax. If we accomplish this, the irritation on the sciatic nerve decreases and the symptoms may subside. From here, we need to take care of the root cause of that muscle tightness, and make sure that the pelvis is functioning correctly. Chiropractic adjustments helps the pelvis to function correctly.

Gentle manipulation of the joint improves the way the joint moves. The piriformis muscle relaxes and often the symptoms go away. Combining the adjustment with a simple stretch, can improve the symptoms quickly. Below are two simple stretches that can help. Be warned, if you’re having significant problems, these stretches can potentially exacerbate your pain. We at Family Chiropractic and Wellness recommend you talk to one of our chiropractors before performing this stretch.

Lie on your back. Bend your right knee and put the outside of your right lower leg just below your opposite knee. With your hands just below your left knee, gently pull your leg toward your chest until a stretch is felt in your buttocks area (piriformis). Hold for 10-20 seconds. Stretch both legs. Lift the back of your head off off the floor and look straight ahead as you stretch. Breathe slowly and deeply.

Stretch Sciatica

Photo from the book “Stretching” by Bob Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another way to stretch the buttocks is to use the contract-relax-stretch technique. Starting from the previous position, move your leg downward as you resist movement (contraction) for 4-5 seconds. Then relax and stretch for 10-20 seconds as previously described.

Stretch Sciatica

Photo from the book “Stretching” by Bob Anderson