Exercises to Combat Sciatica

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Las Vegas Informer

Stretch to lessen the symptoms and eliminate the source of sciatica. Target the gluteal muscles, especially the piriformis muscle, to alleviate the debilitating effects of sciatica.

Impingement of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle is a common source of sciatica. Stretch the piriformis muscle to decrease its tautness and lessen its pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Anatomy: The sciatic nerve originates in the gluteal region and travels down the leg. It forms from two networks of nerves that branch off the spinal cord in the lumbar spine and sacral region. The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve and its branches transmit nerve communication signals throughout the leg.

The piriformis muscle runs across the gluteal region and attaches to the outer hip. The powerful piriformis muscle contracts to rotate the leg outwards.

Sciatica Symptoms: The pain and symptoms of sciatica are signals that an underlying source exists. Sciatica symptoms are caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. A common location of sciatic nerve impingement is underneath the piriformis muscle. Tightness of the piriformis muscle pinches the sciatic nerve and creates the debilitating symptoms in the buttocks that radiate into the leg. 

Symptoms of sciatica include sharp shooting shock-like pain, tingling, numbness, fatigue, weakness and burning in the leg and foot. The pain is increased by bending forward, quick movements, squeezing, coughing and straining to pass a stool.

Chiropractic Care: Seek professional treatment from a Doctor of Chiropractic for evaluation and treatment if sciatica symptoms begin to occur. Chiropractic treatment re-establishes proper skeletal motion and optimizes nerve flow. Chiropractic care eliminates the source of sciatica by removing the impingement on the sciatic nerve.

Stretching: Combine stretching exercises with chiropractic care to further eliminate the source and decrease the symptoms of sciatica. Proper stretching technique is essential for maximum results. Ease into a comfortable stretch and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. If a specific stretch increases or elicits symptoms, forgo that stretch and proceed to another. Execute every stretch with each leg even if the pain exists only on one side

Supine Bent-Knee Piriformis Stretch: Lie supine on the floor. Bend the painful leg and keep the opposite leg straight. Place the foot of the painful leg on the floor on the outside of the opposite leg. Keep the gluteal area of the straight leg on the floor. Place the arm of the bent leg at a ninety degree angle to the body. Exhale and use the hand on the side of the straight leg to pull your bent leg to the opposite side.

Knee to Opposite Shoulder Stretch: Lie supine with the painful leg bent and the opposite leg straight. Grab the upper shin of the bent leg with both hands. Exhale and slowly pull the knee toward your chest. When a stretch in the gluteal area begins, angle the pull toward the opposite shoulder.

Figure Four Piriformis Stretch: Lie supine with both knees bent. Bend the painful leg at the hip and place the outer aspect of your shin just above the opposite knee. Grab hold of the opposite leg around the lower thigh with both hands. Exhale and slowly pull the knee toward your chest.

Floor-Seated Piriformis Stretch: Sit up straight on the floor with the painful leg bent and the opposite leg extended in front of you. Place the foot of the painful leg on the floor on the outside of the opposite knee. Slowly rotate your upper body in the direction of the bent leg and place your hand on the floor behind you. Grab the outside of the bent knee with the opposite hand. Exhale and push the knee toward the opposite side.

Side Lying Piriformis Stretch: Lie on your side near the edge of a training table or firm bed. Keep your bottom leg straight and bend the upper leg. Place the foot of the upper leg behind the knee of the lower leg. Exhale and slowly lower the knee of the upper leg toward the floor. Apply slight downward pressure with your hand to the outside of the upper thigh.

Chair-Seated Piriformis Stretch: Sit up straight in a sturdy chair. Cross the painful leg over the opposite knee. Place the outer aspect of your ankle on the opposite knee. Exhale and curl your upper body toward the floor.

Stretch the piriformis muscle to eliminate the source and symptoms of sciatica. Use proper stretching technique in conjunction with chiropractic care to combat sciatica. Correctly applied self treatment combined with quality professional care speeds recovery from sciatica.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic. 2595 S. Cimarron Rd, Suite #100, Las Vegas, NV 89117.  His web address is Championship Chiropractic. He can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 andDrO@ChampionshipChiropractic.com.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello’s mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC proudly handles Standard Process Supplements and Foot Levelers Orthotics.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC writes a weekly health, fitness, exercise and nutrition column for The Las Vegas Informer. His is published in OnFitness MagazineLivestrong.comSpineUniverse.comand EHow.com.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to numerous groups on the importance of health, fitness, exercise, ergonomics, nutrition and injury prevention.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is a fitness enthusiast. Functional kettlebell training, bike riding and running are his favorite forms of exercise.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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2 Responses to Exercises to Combat Sciatica

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