Unfortunately, sciatica pain is all too common across the United States. In fact, more than 3 million cases are treated each year in the U.S. Sciatica pain can cause a variety of problems for those who suffer from it including leg numbness and tingling, extremity weakness, difficulty walking, sharp pain, and core and leg muscle weakness. This can not only make daily tasks difficult, it can actually cause problems that also risk your safety. While there are many causes of sciatic pain, there are things you can do to help find some relief. A regular stretching regimen, in conjunction with help from a chiropractor or physical therapist, is one of the best ways to get long-term pain relief. So give yourself a leg up and use some of the following stretches as part of your daily routine to reduce your sciatic pain.
While the name may be a bit misleading, the Thomas Test is a quad stretch that is easy to perform every night before bed. This stretch can help you with knee, hip, and lower back troubles by helping to stretch the quad and several ligaments and tendons in your pelvic region. To perform this stretch, sit on the edge of your bed where you thighs are half-way on and half-way off the bed. Bring one knee up to your chest and simply roll back to lay on the bed. Try and keep the other leg hanging off the bed inline with your pelvis and let it gently hang. Make sure to switch and do the other leg as well.
Yoga is a great place to look for a variety of stretches and strengthening motions that can be not only easy on your body, but highly beneficial. Child’s pose is a restorative pose that helps to stretch the muscles from the buttocks up through the lower back. Simply get on the floor, sitting on your knees if that is comfortable, and walk your hands forward until your torso is parallel with the floor and your hands are fully extended forward. Hold this pose while taking deep, relaxing breathes until you feel the muscles in your lower back relax.
In order to help your back and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, you also need to strengthen the muscles in your core. Bridges are a common physical therapy exercise in order to strengthen the buttocks and lower abdominal muscles to help better support your spine. For this exercise, lay on your back on the ground and bring your feet up towards your buttocks. Lift your hips towards the ceiling while focusing on tightening your core, then release back down. Repeat this motion.
Stretching out your hamstrings, the main muscle on the back of your thighs, on a regular basis can help to reduce numbness and tingling in your legs that is associated with sciatic pain. There are two different stretches that can do this well. For the first, sit in a chair and extend one leg out. Flex your foot and gently lean forward with a straight back until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Release and switch sides. The other option is to stand a foot or two away from a wall and leaving one foot on the ground, lean forward leaving your back foot firmly on the ground and keeping a straight body. This motion should stretch both the calf and hamstring.
Here at Progressive Health and Wellness in Gahanna, we want you to stay healthy and have as much sciatica pain relief as possible. Schedule an appointment with our chiropractor or physical therapist to get started on your journey to a healthy lower back.