Low back pain and sciatica can cause great distress to people, at times making them unable to carry on routine day to day activities. Treatment methods can vary depending on what exactly is causing the low back pain or sciatica and how severe the symptoms are. Medications can help in immediate relief to patients, especially for those suffering from acute pain. However the course of treatment and also in cases where symptoms are not so severe, exercise and sciatic stretches can help in sciatic relief.
The cause for sciatic pain should be identified. Often it could be caused by some irritation nerve points leading up to the sciatic nerve, pelvic instability could cause sciatic pain so could some kind of tightening in the Piriformis muscle. Whatever the cause, sciatic stretches have been recommended and found to be helpful to address the sciatic pain. Obviously, the stretches have to address these three areas – the Piriformis muscle, lower back and pelvis – as they have to target those muscles that cause pain.
First, let us turn our attention to the lower back muscles and joints. The sciatic nerve starts in this area and it is important that these areas be corrected first. The best way of tackling problems in the lower back areas would be to combine both lower back stretched and lower back exercises with some joint mobility workouts.
Next, we turn to what relief from pelvis instability. Obviously, the pelvis now needs to be balanced which is achieved with the help of exercises that not only relax the tightened muscles that cause pain but also strengthen the supporting muscles.
Finally, these exercises will aid in the realignment of the pelvis. Relief from pain caused by tightening in the Piriformis muscle can be achieved by stretches that include flexing the lower spine as also stretching the muscles at the back near the spine and consequently, stretching the Piriformis muscle.
One simple exercise to stretch the piriformis and get some relief from the pain can be mentioned here. Lie flat on your back on the floor. Now hold your right knee and pull it towards your left shoulder. You have to pull the knee and the foot across your body. Hold still for about 30 seconds. Repeat the same with the left knee. In addition to these exercises, hamstring stretches are also recommended for relief from sciatica pain. This is because any tightness in the hamstring can put more stress on the lower back and generally leads to a worsening of the situation.
Care should however be taken to see that hamstring stretches are done smoothly, that there is no bouncing and muscle spasms are avoided. Further, Yoga stretches are also found to be fairly effective in sciatica pain relief when it is caused by problems with Piriformis muscle. Again, certain yoga stretches do not help sciatica pain relief and in fact can cause more irritation.
It has been found that stretches for sciatica pain relief help a great deal in preventing future pain. However, always keep in mind that sciatica stretches must be done regularly and correctly to be effective.