8 Sciatica Stretches That Prevent and Relieve Hip and Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is unfortunately very common, and it can be caused by various factors, including sciatic nerve pain. The sciatic nerve is the longest one in the body, stretching from the spine through the buttocks and goes down the legs.
However, it has been found that stretching is one of the most effective ways to treat lower back and hip pain. The following stretches, if done regularly, will help you alleviate the pain and discomfort:
1. Sciatica Mobilizing Stretch
Lie on a yoga mat with the knees bent and a cushion or hard pillow under the head. Then, bring one knee toward the chest and hold it with the hands.
Start stretching the leg upward for a count of 30 and return to the original position. Straighten the leg on the mat, and repeat three times with both legs.
2. Both Knee To Chest Stretch
Lie on the back on a yoga mat, place a cushion or firm pillow under the head, and put the hands on both knees, while slowly bringing them toward the chest. Hold for a count of 30 and return to the initial position. Make 3 repetitions.
3. Piriformis Muscle Stretch
Lie on the back on a yoga mat, with the legs into a bent-knee position, and cross one leg on the opposite knee.
Grasp the thigh of the leg whose foot is on the floor, and gently pull it towards the chest. Hold for a count of 30 and return to the original position. Repeat three times.
4. Cat-Camel Poses
Start on all fours, and straighten the arms directly below the shoulders. Align the knees with the hips, and push the back upward to create an arch like a cat. Hold for a count of 10, and return to the initial position.
Then, lower the middle of the back into a reversed arch, with the head up, and hold the pose for a count of 10. Repeat 12 times.
5. Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stand up with the feet together in front of a sturdy table, bench or ledge which is about hip-width high. Elevate one leg while the heel rests on the object in front of you.
Bend forward at the waist with a straight spine, and hold for 30 seconds. Release, return to the initial position and repeat three times.
6. Frog Pose (Advanced)
Start on all fours, with the hands on the floor, while you widen the knees. Keep the inside of the calf and foot of each leg touching the floor.
Then, lower the body down to the forearms, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
7. Two Knee Twist
While lying on the back with the knees bent and a pillow below the head, spread the arms to the sides to form a T shape. Rotate the knees to the left and hold for 60 seconds. Switch sides, and repeat three times.
8. Child’s Pose
Start on all fours, and slowly extend the hands forward while lowering the body into a crouch.
Despite performing these helpful stretches regularly, you can also follow these tips below in order to additionally relieve the pain and symptoms caused by lower back and hip pain:
Try heat or ice therapy. In the case of a sciatica flare-up, wrap some ice in a cloth towel and place it on your lower back for around 15 minutes, to fight the local inflammation and alleviate the sharp pain.
For heat therapy, place an electric heating pad or hot water bottle against the lower back, buttock, or the back of the leg and leave it to act for 10 to 20 minutes. The warmth will dilate blood vessels, boost blood flow and relax the muscles
Give yourself a massage. You can try one highly effective one, using a tennis ball. Just lie on the floor, place the tennis ball under the buttock or upper thigh, slowly rolling over it until you find a tender spot to focus on. The gentle pressure will alleviate the pain just like a typical pressure-point massage would
Try mind-body techniques, like deep breathing exercises, meditation, guided imagery, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which relax the muscles and boost the sense of control over the pain.
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