Many mysteries about the human body have never been solved. As far as we know, our bodies are full of nerves that send signals to and from the brain.
Some of these nerves are very close to the spine, but others travel to the farthest body parts, such as the toes and the fingers.
The sciatic nerve is special in that it is close to the spine and long enough to reach the extremities. As crucial as this nerve is, it is also why many people experience a lot of pain and suffering.
When pinched or irritated, the sciatic nerve causes pain in the lower back. Since it stretches to the lower leg, it can cause hip, knee, and even leg pain.
This problem is so common that up to 40% of people are expected to experience it at some point in their lives.
The sciatic nerve is mostly felt deep in the tissues of the buttock in the piriformis muscle. A problem known as sciatica emerges when this muscle gets inflamed or constricted.
Sciatica is the inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
The piriformis muscle is vital in the body. It supports your leg, foot, and hip during their outward movements.
The muscle is connected to the spine on one end and the top part of the femur on the other. Problems arise when the sciatic nerve goes through this muscle, which brings about a serious condition known as piriformis syndrome.
The health condition causes lower back pain, balance problems, and hip pain.
Besides the piriformis muscle, the sciatic nerve can be affected by several other factors.
Nevertheless, over-the-counter medication can help handle the inflammation. When the pain becomes too intense or chronic, muscle relaxers and prescription painkillers might help.
Antidepressants might also be necessary.
Unfortunately, if you just handle the symptoms caused by sciatica issues and not the root of the problem, then you might have to spend the rest of your life taking drugs.
This is where the following stretches come in. These piriformis exercises can help alleviate sciatic pain.
In reality, sciatica is more of a symptom than a condition since it is caused by problems involving the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a word that describes what you feel as well as the symptoms that come with the condition such as reduced bladder control, tingling, and numbness.
One of the best ways to get rid of sciatica is to perform exercises that stretch the piriformis muscle. Before you start these stretches, make sure you warm up properly.
Additionally, make sure you don't go overboard. Having a chat with a spine specialist might also help ensure that the workout does not worsen the problems with your sciatic nerve.
1. Standing Piriformis Stretch
To perform this workout, you should put the leg with the pain problem over the knee of the other leg. After that, lower your hips at a 45-degree angle as you bend the knee of the leg you are standing on.
As you do this, lean forward while extending your arms, so they are parallel to the ground. While keeping your spine straight, stay in this position for about 30 to 60 seconds before switching legs and repeating the exercise.
2. Supine Piriformis Stretch
For this stretch, lie on the ground facing upwards. Raise your knees from the ground and cross the painful leg over the knee of the other leg.
Using one hand, grab the ankle of the leg you have crossed over the other and pull it towards the shoulder. Do this for about half a minute.
3. Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch
As you lie on the floor with your legs stretched out straight, bend your affected leg so that the foot is close to the back of the knee of the outstretched leg.
Tuck the foot under the straight leg, then twist the leg on the opposite side so that the bent knee touches the ground.
Then put an arm on the knee, and raise the other knee in the air. Start to lower the other arm in a direction opposite of the bent knee and remain in this position for 20 seconds.
Switch the legs and repeat the workout.
4. Buttock Stretch For Piriformis Muscle
For this stretch, put your hands and knees on the floor, then drag the leg with the pain problem under you and twist it in the opposite direction, close to the hip. Your knee should point in the direction of your shoulder.
After that, lower the head so that your forehead touches the ground. Lean the forearms on the ground, and while keeping your pelvis straight, stretch the other leg behind you before stretching the other leg behind you.
Hold this position for about 30 seconds. Repeat the workout 3 times.
5. Long Adductor (Groin) Stretch
Assume a sitting position on the floor, then stretch your legs straight out. Slowly, start to tilt your torso forward and put your hands next to each other on the floor.
Lean forward as if trying to touch your elbows to the ground and stay in this position for about 10 to 20 seconds.
6. Hip Extension Exercise
Place your hands and knees on the ground. Align your hands with your shoulders, then shift the weight from your affected leg.
Lift the leg in an upward direction before lowering it slowly. Repeat this process 15 times.
7. Side Lying Clam Exercise
For this workout, you should lie on the ground on your side. Make sure that the leg with the pain is on top.
Bend the leg to form an "L" shape, but make sure your feet are touching. While making sure that your legs are almost parallel to each other, slowly lift your knee and return it to the initial position slowly.
Repeat this 15 times.
8. Seated Stretch
For this stretch, get a chair and sit on it, then put the leg with the problem over the knee of the other leg.
Bring your chest forward and bend forward a little then hold this position for a couple of seconds. Try to bend a little more and stay in this position for 30 seconds.
Repeat the process with the other leg.
9. Short Adductor (Inner Thigh) Stretch
Sit on the floor and make the soles of your feet touch in front of your pelvis. Hold your ankles with the opposite hands, then push the knee towards the ground and stay in that position for about 90 seconds.
After completing this set, flutter your legs for about 30 seconds.
10. Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
Lie on the ground with your back and legs straight on the ground. Bend the affected leg in an upward direction so that your foot is close to the knee of the other leg.
Using your hand, pull the knee of the affected leg towards your upper body and stay in this position for about 30 seconds. Repeat this process three times.
If you have someone who could use these stretching exercises to deal with sciatica, pass these practices.