The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in your body that runs from the bottom of the spine down into each of your legs. Recent studies show 5- 10 % of Americans suffer from the many forms of Sciatic pain. When it becomes irritated, whether from a slipped disc, spinal infection, or direct injury, it will cause searing pains, tingles or numbness into one or both of your legs or even down to your feet. The pain may be mild but usually causes extreme discomfort throughout the day, especially to those sitting for a majority. For your Sciatica or lower back injury try these 9 essential exercises and stretches to help relieve the nerve.
This hamstring stretch is great to start out with, as the simple movements will help elongate the hamstrings and back muscles. Begin this stretch by getting on the floor and sitting tall with your back straight up and your legs stretched out in front of you. With your legs a few inches apart, but not wide enough to open your hips, slowly bend at the waist while reaching your arm towards your toes. Grab your toes if possible and hold this position. Drive your collarbone towards your knees for a deeper stretch and hold for five breaths.
Knee to Chest Stretch
Another manageable stretch is moving the knee to chest. Initiate this next exercise by lying on a mat or cushion on the floor, flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Then slowly bring your right knee up to your chest and link your hands around your calf to hug it close. You will begin to feel this stretch around your Sciatic nerve. For a deeper relieve keep your other bent leg flat against the floor. Try and hold this for 20- 30 seconds then switch sides. Repeat three reps for each leg.
Lying Knee Lift Exercise
This exercise reduces the pain by extending the muscles in your legs around the problem area. This uncomplicated exercise is a lot like the knee to chest stretch above but with additional movements. Begin this gesture by laying on the floor with a flat back and your hand underneath your lower back. Bend both of your knees while beginning to lift feet off the ground until your calves are parallel with the floor. Then lower your legs back into a bent knee or straight on the floor position. Repeat for 30 seconds with a total of three reps. There are many modifications to the exercise to ensure not furthering your injury.