Even the name brings pain to people who have suffered from it. They know how intolerable it can be.
True sciatica develops when an osteoarthritic bone spur or a herniated disc puts pressure on and pinches the sciatic nerve roots, ie- a pinched nerve.
This form of lower back pain is not as common as other disorders or sources that lead to back pain, such as recreational activities, sports, and heavy manual work.
It’s important to note that not all back pain is caused by sciatica. It’s well worth a visit to your physician to get an informed diagnosis if you experience what could be its symptoms.
Piriformis syndrome occurs when the sciatic nerve enters the muscle, and that’s when problems begin. This causes agonizing pain on hips, lower back and lower limbs.
Patients often need the help of painkillers to get relief from the ache. But over-usage might give rise to new problems that just aren’t worth it.
So why not try a few exercises to relieve the pain?
Again, a physician’s consultation and warm up exercises are a must before doing the exercises.
First Exercise: Supine Piriformis Stretch
- Lie down on your back and bend your knees up.
- Now, put the painful leg over the knee of the other leg.
- Keep one hand on top of the knee and pull gently toward the opposite shoulder.
- Hold the ankle with the other hand.
- Remain in position for 30-60 seconds until you start feeling a stretch.
Second Exercise: Standing Piriformis Stretch
- Stand straight.
- Put the ankle of your painful leg on the knee of the other leg.
- Stretch your arms out parallel to the floor and slowly bring the hips downward, keeping the position intact.
- Your spine must be kept straight.
- Hold the wall for balance.
- Remain like this for about a minute and switch legs.
Third Exercise: Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch
- Lie down.
- Fold the left leg up so that its foot stays beside the knee of the right leg.
- Hold the top of the left knee with your right hand.
- Pull it down gently to the right side so that it touches the floor.
- While doing this, raise your left arm and lower it towards the floor at your left side.
- Remain in this twisty position for 20 seconds and switch legs.
Fourth Exercise: Long Abductor Stretch
- Sit on the floor.
- Stretch your legs outwards and spread them apart.
- Put your hands together and bend forward until your elbows touch the floor.
- Remain in position for 20 seconds and repeat after intervals.
Fifth Exercise: Short Abductor Stretch
- Sit down and bend your knees to the side.
- Join your feet.
- Hold the right ankle with your left hand and left ankle with your right.
- Raise your knees and lower again.
- Slowly increase speed.
Sixth Exercise: Side-Lying Clam
- Lay on your side and bend your knees slightly forward.
- Tilt your legs back into an L shape.
- Keep your feet one upon the other.
- Open the upper leg.
- Let the rest of your body stay in place.
- Repeat 15 times.
Seventh Exercise: Hip Extension
- Start by putting your hands and your knees on the floor parallel to each other, in a baby crawl position.
- Raise one knee and open your leg backward in a stretch.
- Bring your legs together and repeat on both sides.
Eighth Exercise: Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
- Lie down with back and legs straight.
- Tilt the harmed leg up.
- Bend one knee up so its foot stays beside the knee of another leg.
- Hold the top of the knee and pull gently towards your chest.
Ninth Exercise: Bottom Stretch for the Piriformis Muscle
- Stay on all fours.
- Place your hands and knees on the floor.
- Bend the knee of the painful leg under the stomach.
- Press from above.
- Stretch the other leg out and bend your head to touch the floor.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat three times.
Tenth Exercise: Seated Stretch
- Sit on a chair and put your painful leg over the knee of the other leg.
- Keep your spine straight and bend forward in a stretch.
- Remain like this for 30 seconds.
- Switch sides.
Eleventh Exercise: McKenzie Press Up
- Lie down on the ground with face downwards.
- Keep your elbows beside your chest.
- Raise your head up as much as possible, like a sea lion.
- Remain in position for 30 seconds and lower your head.
- When you try these exercises at home, don’t over-do it.
- Stop if at any point you feel as if you cannot take it.
- Stretching beyond limit could give rise to muscle sprain.
As a precautionary measure, these back exercises using exercise balls are designed to strengthen the muscles that support the spine from the low back to the upper back, in front and in back.
Specific muscles targeted by these exercises include the abdominal, chest and back muscles.
- Place chest on exercise ball and walk forward on hands as far as possible
- Roll the exercise ball from chest toward feet, keeping stomach muscles tight to keep lower back flat.
- Start by moving exercise ball to thighs.
- To increase difficulty, move exercise ball to knees then feet.
- Walk hands back to starting position.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times.
- Sit on exercise ball with arms to sides.
- Walk feet forward as far as possible, rolling exercise ball from buttocks toward neck.
- Keep stomach muscles tight so lower back flat, and do not raise head.
- Start by moving exercise ball to upper back; to increase difficulty move exercise ball to neck.
- Walk feet back and return to sitting position.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times.
- For more difficulty, complete exercise with arms straight overhead; with exercise ball at neck
- Lift and straighten one leg at a time.
- Do this five times with each leg.