Pain in any form is aggravating to say the least, but back pain can be downright debilitating. That is especially true when the pain then travels down the legs. With sciatica, that is often the cause. When the largest nerve in the body becomes pinched or irritated, it can act up in unimaginable ways. Relieving the pain of sciatica can be a tricky matter because there are many things that can aggravate the nerve. Finding the source of the irritation is difficult, but there is new hope. There are exercises that can be done, which serve the sufferer in two ways. First, they address the pain. Through these stretches and movements the pain can often be alleviated. The exercises can also help address the source of the pain – whatever is poking, pinching, or rubbing against the nerve.
In order to reap the rewards that come from these stretches, it is important to do them regularly. While a single session of stretching can feel good in the moment, doing so continuously is what will loosen the back up and help to remove the tension being felt by the nerve within.
It is a good idea to begin this routine with five minutes of light cardio. By moving the legs, you force the blood to start moving more freely through them and this also helps to slowly loosen the muscles found there. Afterward, a series of stretches that focus on the hamstrings, lower back pelvic area, and elsewhere can get the body ready for whatever tasks the day has in store.
To stretch the hamstrings, you can do one of two great maneuvers. The first would involve standing with the knees very slightly bent and stretching your hands down toward the floor. The goal is to get a nice even stretch that is helpful not hurting. Hold the stretch for a count of ten and then slowly return to standing. For some sciatica sufferers, this stretch is too much. In those cases, the person can opt to lie on the floor, flat on his or her back. When doing this stretch, you will want to have a bath towel or exercise band on hand. Place on foot on the floor about six inches from the buttocks, so the knee is bent. Wrap the towel (or band) around the back of the other and gently pull the leg toward your chest, just until you feel a good stretch. Hold for ten seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat this with the other leg.
As for the lower back, one of the very best stretches is also very soothing for many people. While still lying on your back, wrap your arms behind both knees and allow your lower legs to dangle over them. Pull your head up, while pulling your legs toward it to create a sort of ball out of your body. If you have trouble maintaining your balance, allow your head to return to the floor. Pull the legs in so you get a good stretch in the lower back, hold, and release.
Finally, to stretch the hips and back, lie flat on the floor once again. Bend one knee up toward the sky while keep the foot planted on the floor. With the opposite hand, gently pull (from behind the knee) the leg across the body. Once again, the aim is a nice, consistent stretch for the count of ten. Then slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
These exercises don’t take long but can make a big difference. They can improve blood flow, oxygen flow, and flexibility. All of these things will help you live with less pain.