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Exercises to ease sciatica pain

Exercises to ease sciatica pain

Exercises for sciatica pain

Sciatica nerve pain can be unpleasant. However, the best part is that it’s possible to alleviate the condition without surgical intervention. Exercise is an excellent way to provide Sciatica pain relief. Lack of movement and exercise deconditions the spinal structures and back muscles. The result is that you’re less able to support the back, which could lead to back injury and strain.

It is essential to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. That will help rule out any more severe problems, and get you the right diagnosis.

Exercises for sciatica

The correct exercise therapy should focus on stretching the sciatic nerve and the neighbouring muscles to provide relief. Some of the exercises you can try include:

Knee to chest

Knee to chest is essential in relieving sciatica pain as it can reduce nerve compression in the lower back. All you need is to lie on your back. You can start with the right or left knee. Gently use your hands to pull the bent knee towards your chest.

Hold this position for ten seconds. Do the same with the other knee. Repeat the movement at least three times, and hold for the same time. You need to use your hands then to pull both knees towards the chest. Hold for ten seconds, and repeat this three times.

Pigeon stretch

For this exercise, you need to be on all fours. Make sure that one leg is extended, and place the top of your foot on the ground. Exhale as you lower the forward leg’s shin to the floor that means your knee needs to be behind the same ankle and wrist.

The front foot should be flexed. However, if you feel pain in the knee, you can lift the front thigh and knee with cushions or move the front foot close to the back thigh. With this position, you should remain on your hands. Hold this for thirty seconds and breathe evenly. Do the same with the other side.

Vertebrae stretch

Vertebrae stretch helps to relieve pressure on your back. For this exercise you will need as swiss exercise ball. Lay face down on the ball; making sure that the any area of pain in the back is is above the ball. Extend your arms straight, and do the same with the legs being behind you. Relax, and repeat this ten times to get a good stretch.

Hamstring stretch

You can have something like a chair in front of you to perform this stretch. Raise one leg and place it on the chair, ensure that your toes are pointing upwards, and your leg should be straight. Do not lock the knee. Bend forward over the raised leg and keep the spine straight.

Go as far as you can go. While doing this, breathe deeply, and hold for twenty seconds. Do the same with your other leg.

Performing any of these exercises once a day may help to relieve sciatica pain. Be sure to consult your doctor before you start any activity.


  1. Maureen Patino on May 9, 2022 at 9:25 am

    I had a hip replacement 9 years ago and now have pain in my buttock and down my right leg to my ankle! How can I tell if it’s sciatica or in need of another hip

    • SPRC on May 9, 2022 at 3:23 pm

      Dear Maureen,
      Sorry to hear about your pain. The best way to find out if the issue is with your hip or more typical sciatica related causes is to go and see healthcare professional with the right knowledge and experience to give you a diagnosis.
      It does not sound as those the symptoms described are related to the hip as pain from a hip joint does not usually refer all the way to your ankle, but the only way to know for sure is to get an assessment from a doctor or physio. Best wishes.

  2. Sylvia Albon on April 27, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    I am in a very difficult situation. X-rays say one of the lower back disc is protruding and the doctor says it is too near the nerve to operate as if they accidentally caught the nerve I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. My pain starts in lower back goes into my right hip that has been replaced and right down to my right ankle. Also, I am getting pins and needles in my right hand. The tablets I am on cause constipation, which is making my back worse, also I can go for a wee empty my bladder but within seconds if I am walking I am leaking so now wearing pant liners, also when I strain to go to toilet, now it is making me a lot of pain straining to go. The doctor says because I am on warfarin for life due to having 5 blood clots that we know about, she is restricted on what medication I can have. I am 83 years old I also have very bad arthritis. A lot of exercises that could help me I cannot do as I have right and left replacement knees, a replacement right hip and replacement left shoulder, so if I got on the floor I would never manage to get back up. I would appreciate if there is anything that you could recommend for me, with thanks.

    • SPRC on May 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm

      Dear Sylvia,
      It can be very difficult to manage when there are a number of mobility issues to contend with. When this is the situation rather than think of doing specific exercises it is best to focus on simple movement. Just a little bit of walking little and often can sometimes help. Pins and needles in the hand is unlikely to be related to sciatica so you need to let the Doctor know about this. Also, you need to let the Doctor know about the constipation and incontinence in case it is linked to your back.
      Look at things that may help that do not involve exercise. Our blogs have several ideas and suggestions for you to consider. Best wishes.

  3. Ang on November 4, 2021 at 2:58 am

    My worst pain is at night when I get frequent stabbing pains in my thigh. These prevent me sleeping. I take a gentle walk every evening, but it does not seem to bring relief
    Is there anything I can do to ease the stabbing pain so I can sleep?

    • SPRC on November 5, 2021 at 4:22 pm

      When you say the pain is in your thigh do you mean the front of your leg as opposed to back of the leg? Pain in the front of the leg is not sciatica. Pain at the front of the leg may be be femoral nerve pain. It is similar to sciatica but not the same.
      If you do have ‘classic’ sciatica then if you read the blogs on our website you may find information that is useful for helping reduce your symptoms.
      Best wishes.

      • Angelita Dejesus on May 18, 2022 at 2:22 am

        I was diagnosed with sciatica. I’ve done therapy and taking pain meds also Gabapentin. It’s been over 2 months now I’m also experiencing nether region pain like little shocks. My pain seems to shift sides goes down my legs and sometimes just sits on my upper butt. I was seeing a pain specialist but they now want me to see a surgeon! What should I do? I hurt so bad.

        • SPRC on May 18, 2022 at 6:14 pm

          Sorry to hear that Angelita. You definitely need to follow the advice of seeing a doctor / surgeon to get a more definitive diagnosis for your symptoms. Sciatica is a symptom and not a condition in itself. You need to know what is causing the symptoms. Best wishes.

  4. Pauline Blakey on August 11, 2021 at 7:45 am

    can walking over 20 minutes increase the pain for sciatica. I have had two injections and they have helped some but I still have problems trying to walk a long distance, I went to physical therapy and have been during the exercises and they do help a some. should I be walking less since walking over 20 minutes seems to hurt more or should I continue to walk 20 minutes and to add a few minutes each week. I really want to walk more because I need to lose at least 10 lbs. which I think will also help my condition. I live in an apartment and my laundry room is outside around the corner. I have 14 stairs inside to climb up and down to get to my apartment. I know this can be hard on my back taking laundry up and down the stairs because I feel worst when I do. Is there anyway I can improve the method of during this to help ease the pain..

    • SPRC on August 16, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      Hello Pauline, the amount of walking you can do is entirely dependent on how much pain you are in and your level of fitness. As a rule being active is the best, but we don’t want to over do it. The pin we feel is to be used to guide us. Some level of tolerable discomfort is OK. Pushing through pain will slow down your recovery. Where pain is concerned, knock at the door but don’t push it open. See if you can get some help in carrying your laundry up and down the stairs if that is making you feel worse. Best wishes.

    • Susan on March 26, 2022 at 12:34 am

      I have had sciatica for about 1 1/2 months now. The pain is way better except I have mostly pain in my calf now and it gets worse when I walk, when i put weight but when I flex it to take a step. I can’t go on my ball of my foot only on the sciatica side (left), a tight muscle that won’t relax. Is this normal to have muscle weakness in the calf.

      Thank you

      • SPRC on March 27, 2022 at 9:16 pm

        Hello Susan,
        Muscle weakness is a common symptom of sciatica. Glad to hear you are getting better. Best wishes.

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