Pain in the sciatic nerve can run from the spine to the leg. Most people feel the pain on only one side of the body. Though medication can help alleviate the symptoms, exercise therapy that aims to stretch the sciatic nerve and surrounding muscles can also offer relief and can serve as a useful supplement to allopathic options. However, check with your doctor before doing these stretches, and use pain as your guide. If a stretch worsens the pain, don't do it.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and a firm cushion or book under your head. Raise one knee toward your chest by grasping above your knee (lower hamstring) with both hands. From this position, stretch the leg toward the ceiling. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, then return the leg to the ground. Repeat with the other leg.
Kneel on the ground and extend one leg back as far as it will go, placing the top of the foot on the ground. Raise the knee of the other leg so the thigh is parallel to the ground, with the shin perpendicular and the knee directly over the ankle. Straighten your spine and raise your arms until the biceps frame the head. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, then return to the kneeling position. Alternate legs and perform the same movement.
From an all-fours position, extend one leg back, placing the top of the foot on the ground. On an exhale, carefully lower the side of the forward leg's shin to the ground, so the knee is behind the same wrist and the ankle is behind the opposite wrist (anywhere from right behind to the heel touching the other thing, depending on your flexibility). Keep the front foot flexed and if you feel pain in your knee, either move the front foot closer to the back thigh or prop up the front thigh and knee with cushions. Remain on your hands or lower down onto forearms. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing evenly, and return to all fours. Repeat on the other side.
Lie on your stomach with your body stretched out straight but relaxed. Place your hands next to your head or just under your shoulders. Keep your neck long, looking straight ahead, and raise your torso by pushing your hands down. Keep your pelvis on the ground. Your upper arms should be at a 45-degree angle or so from the ground, depending on your back flexibility, and you should feel a gentle stretch in the abdominal muscles. If you feel pinching in the low back, decrease the back bend. Hold for two seconds and return to the prone position. Repeat this movement ten times.
Lie flat on your back with your legs stretched straight on the ground. Raise one knee toward the chest and position the shin parallel to the floor. Grasp the back of the raised leg, clutching above the knee with both hands, or around the outside of the knee if you can reach without straining your shoulders off the floor. Gently draw the knee toward the opposite shoulder, until you feel a stretch in the outer hip of the bent leg. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then release and repeat with the other leg.
Start on all fours. Widen your knees into a comfortable stretch, keeping the ankles in line with the knees on both sides. With both shins still touching the ground, lower to your forearms so your weight rests evenly on the arms and thighs. Lower your forearms until your elbows touch the ground and your body weight falls onto your thighs and arms. Stay in this position for 20 to 30 seconds and then return to all fours. Repeat this movement a few times.
Stand straight and keep a stable object about a foot high directly in front of you. Raise one leg and place it on this elevated surface with your toes pointing upward and the leg straight, but without locking the knee. Lean forward over the raised leg, keeping the spine straight. When you are as far forward as you can go, breathe deeply and hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Lie flat on your back with your legs straight. Bend one knee and place the foot flat on the floor. Place the other ankle over the bent leg, just above the knee. Grasp behind the knee of the bent leg and draw it in toward your chest to feel a stretch on the outer thigh or hip of the other leg. If this is too much of a stretch and the shoulders come off the ground, either leave the foot on the ground or prop it up on a block or the wall. Hold the position for ten seconds while breathing deeply, then alternate with the other leg.
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