Sciatica is an incredibly annoying and frustrating pain. If you’ve had sciatica before, you definitely know that it is well worth avoiding! Although it can be referred to as back pain, irritation or compression around the sciatic nerve can cause shooting pains down your leg. Sometimes it feels like a cramping, stabbing or burning that makes it hard to walk, move or even get off of the couch.
Sciatica usually originates in the lower back and runs down through the hip and the leg. It happens on one side, so you more than likely only feel the pain through one leg. The pain can come and go or may be static throughout the day. There are many factors that impact how this pain presents in your body. Symptoms can last a few days or years.
Of course, this can afflict heavy lifters or athletes in general, but can also build up over time with lower impact activity. Sciatica can affect those who spend a lot of time sitting down, on the couch or at a desk. So most people really. Sciatica is common in pregnancy since the uterus can compress the nerve. Back issues, like a slipped disc or degenerative issues, can also cause this condition.
For the average person, though, sciatic pain might just originate from tight muscles. For example, piriformis syndrome is when the piriformis, a muscle that originates in the buttocks and stabilizes the hip, gets tight or spasms and causes pain for the sciatic nerve.
Here’s the thing, sciatica might need more attention than just stretching. Working closely with your healthcare professional will be incredibly important for diagnosing the root cause of this pain.
Personally, I experienced sciatica for about a year. It was incredibly painful and made simple tasks - like walking in the grocery store or laying in bed - difficult and painful. Stretching helped, but it did not make it go away completely. I had to mix my stretching routine with consistent visits to a chiropractor.
That being said, there are certain stretches that you can do to reduce - and, in some cases, maybe even remove - the symptoms. Implement these movements and stretches daily.
Sometimes it would help me reduce the severity of my symptoms if I would do the stretches when I was experiencing the pain. I would still encourage you to do them daily - no matter if you have pain at that time or not. It’s a great routine to develop for everyone - especially if you want to remain healthy and pain-free.
Don't let sciatica become part of your life. You don’t have to live in pain. You deserve to feel your best and show up in your life in the best possible way. Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day to stretch the muscles around the sciatic nerve to make sure it does not become compressed. Use these exercises below to remain pain free (and able to walk).