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The 7 Best Stretches for Sciatica Relief

Original article published by Bustle, February 24, 2022 on Bustle.com

By Carolyn Steber

Sciatica is another name for nerve pain that radiates through your lower back and down your thighs, says chiropractor Andrew Goldstein, DC. To relieve it, try stretches for sciatica that are designed to relieve pressure in that area. Here's how to get started.

Nerve Glides

Maggie Mills, DPT says this stretch helps mobilize compressed nerves to decrease sciatica irritation.

  • Lie on your back on a firm surface.
  • Lift on leg into air.
  • Straigten knee, then point and flex foot 20 times.
  • Repeat on other leg.

Do 3x throughout the day.

Child's Pose

Yoga Pro Kate Lombardo says this pose opens up the lower back to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.

  • Start on all fours.
  • Touch toes and widen knees.
  • Send hips back to heels.
  • Stretch arms out long in front of you.
  • Hold 5 breaths.

Repeat a few times a day.

Reclined Pigeon Position

Lombardo also likes this pose to stretch the lower back and outer hips.

  • Lie on back, knees bent, feet hip-distance apart.
  • Put right ankle over left knee.
  • Hug left knee into chest.
  • Hold 5 breaths.
  • Repeat on other leg.

Neutral Spine Positioning

Tara Hackney, PT recommends this move to activate deep core muscles that support the lower back.

  • Lie on back, both knees bent.
  • Use core muscles to "flatten" your lower back into the floor.
  • Hold for 10 seconds. Breathe comfortably.
  • Repeat 10x.

McKenzie Exercise

Dr. Kevin Lees, DC says McKenzie exercises are helpful for sciatica.

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Use both hands to push your torso up into cobra position.
  • Keep thighs and hips flat on the floor.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then relax and lie flat again.
  • Repeat 10x.

Kneeling Quad & Hip Stretch

StretchLab's Austin Martinez, MS, CSCS, ATC likes this move to stretch tight hips.

  • Kneel on one knee, other foot planted in front of you.
  • Hold onto something for balance.
  • Push hips forward.
  • Lean into stretch.
  • Repeat on other side.

Lumbar Stretch

Try this stretch to open up the lumbar area, says Dr. Steve Hruby.

  • Kneel on floor, legs and feet together behind you.
  • Keep hips, pelvis facing forward.
  • Reach down in front of you, touch the floor with fingers.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

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