Exercises for Sciatica

Exercises for Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome

In the broadest sense, exercise is movement. Thus, if you can create movement in the body, you are exercising.

However, not all types of movement are therapeutic. For example, gardening is great movement and you’re outside in the sun getting much needed vitamin D, but will it help lessen back pain? Will it improve your posture? Will it increase your strength in the body in many areas, or is the strength gained limited to a few different muscles? These are all things to consider.

With that in mind, below are ways that movement will actually be therapeutic and used for the term, Exercises for sciatica or exercises for piriformis syndrome.

Exercises for Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome

  1. Stretching

Stretching is movement and it’s an antidote to fatigue in the body. Stretching

counteracts repetitive movements, and if repetitive movements caused your sciatica or piriformis syndrome, then stretching can only help lessen your back pain. Specific areas to focus your stretching include your glutes, your hamstrings, and your quadraceps as these all can contribute to low back pain when tight.

  1. The Jacobsen Relaxation Method

Although the Jacobsen Relaxation method is thought of as a relaxation method, it actually involves tensing muscles in the body, one by one, and then releasing the tension. The individual lies down on a yoga mat or on the floor on cushions and starts with muscles in the toes and moves upward.

For example, he contracts his big toe muscles of one foot, holds for 10 seconds, then forces them to relax. Next, he tenses the muscles of his foot, holds them in a contracted state for 10 seconds, then forces them to relax. Then he moves onto the muscles of the ankle, calf, leg, thigh, pelvis, back, arms, shoulders, neck, and face. By the time the 20-minute session is completed, he feels more relaxed than when he started.

This method can do wonders for someone with back pain in many ways. For example, after practicing this method daily for 21 days, he can now detect tension in various muscles in the body and quickly release the tension. Do you see how this can help someone with back pain?

  1. Specific Exercises for Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome

Here are a few exercises to get you on the road to healing if you have sciatica and piriformis syndrome.

Forearm Sliding Exercise.

(This exercise may also be used by someone who is suffering from stenosis, spondylolistheseis, herniated disc, and back arthritis):

Sit on a wooden chair with your feet on the floor. Place your forearms on your

thighs and your palms on your knees. Slide your forearms forward but keep your spine straight.  Your arms should bear your weight. This movement stretches the buttock and low back muscles without irritating the nerves and lessens sacroiliac joint pressure.

Armrest Grab Exercise.

This exercise may also be used for someone suffering from stenosis, SI joint derangement, or arthritis.

Sit on a chair close to the edge with your feet flat on the floor. Move your knees

together. Sit up straight and reach your right hand across your body to grab the left armrest and the left hand behind you to reach the right armrest. Twist.

This action will stretch the torso.

Back Against the Wall Exercise.

This exercise is also great for those suffering from stenosis.

Lie on a soft cushion and put your legs up against the wall so that your buttocks

are close to the wall. Make sure your legs are parallel to each other. Let them rest there. Hold for a minute or longer.

To get up from this position, bend one knee and roll to that side. The movement relaxes the lower back muscles and buttocks, stretches the spinal cord and reduces compression of the nerve and piriformis muscle.

Lean into the Wall Exercise.

In this exercise, you will place your palms on the wall higher than your head with your feet about 12 inches away from the wall. Look straight ahead and make sure you are standing with equal weight on each foot. With your knees and elbows straight, pull your hips backwards while bringing your armpits close to the wall. You’ll be arching your upper back and bringing your sternum toward the wall. Don’t touch your forehead to the wall.

This exercise is also good for those with herniated disc and SI joint derangement, but not for those with spondylolisthesis.

Mama’s Don’t Lean On the Table Exercise

Do you remember when your mother would tell you to stop leaning on the table? Well, now is the time to start leaning. As you lean, you’ll be lifting your body weight up, relieving the pressure on your lower back.

Here’s how to do it: Face a stable table (which is at about waist height) with your feet about shoulder width apart. Put your palms on the edge of the table with your fingers facing your body and your elbows tucked in towards your chest. Allow your forearms to support most of your weight and your heels should lift slightly off the floor. Don’t contract your abdominal muscles while doing this exercise. Feel a stretch in your lower back and hold for about 20 seconds. Do it as often as possible.

This exercise is also for those who have a herniated disk, SI derangement, or spondylolisthesis.

  1. Yoga

Yoga is wonderful for many types of back pain, including sciatica and piriformis syndrome. However, you must contact a very knowledgeable yoga instructor who can help you choose the appropriate yoga postures to perform. Not all yoga postures are helpful for sciatica.