4 Exercises to Help Relieve Sciatica

4 Exercises to Relieve Sciatica

Today’s blog is written by Dr. Justin Bryant, whose practice is located in McLean, Virginia. In this article, he discusses how sciatica develops and shares a few easy exercises to relieve your sciatic pain.


Often, the term “sciatica” is confused with general back pain. However, sciatica is not limited to the low back. If you develop sciatica, you could experience pain anywhere in your lower body, including the low back, the leg, and even the foot.

How Sciatica Starts

Anything that compresses the sciatic nerve can cause pain that ranges from mild to severe. Sciatica is usually caused by a pinched nerve in the lower spine due to lumbar disc herniation, commonly called a “slipped disc,” or lumbar disc degeneration. Even though it most often develops in the lower spine, sciatica can be felt anywhere where the sciatic nerve can be pinched or irritated, including in the buttocks and down the leg.

Sciatic pain typically only occurs on one side and may get worse after bending over, standing up, or sitting down. Over time this pain may get so severe that it can limit your mobility and bring your favorite activities to a grinding halt.

Solutions For Sciatica

There are many different treatment methods available to relieve sciatic pain. Traditional treatments for sciatica include exercises and stretches, over-the-counter pain reducers such as Ibuprofen, cold compression packs, prescription medications, and injections.  In particularly difficult cases surgery may be recommended.

If you’re seeking non-invasive exercises and stretches for sciatica relief, try these four exercises below to relax your muscles and ease sciatic pain.

***Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.  If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor. 

McKenzie Push Up

  • Lie on your stomach with your hands next to your face.
  • Push up with your hands, gradually lifting your head first, then slowly lifting through the upper back all the way to the low back.
  • Keep the glutes relaxed and your pelvis against the ground.
  • Push up until you feel a small discomfort in the lower back.
  • You can also modify this exercise by pushing up with your elbows and forearms instead of your hands.
  • Lower yourself and repeat 10 times, holding the position for 5 seconds.

Executive Stretch

  • Sit on a chair, putting one foot over the opposite knee in a figure-4 position.
  • Push on your knee to open the leg and straighten your back while you bend your upper body forward until you feel a comfortable stretch in the buttock.
  • Hold the stretch for 1 minute, then release.
  • Repeat for 3 sets, twice a day.

Foam Rolling Glutes

  • Place your foam roller on the floor and sit on it having one foot over the opposite knee in a figure 4 position.
  • Lean on the buttock of the side that the leg is raised up.
  • Roll along your buttock in a front to back motion from your upper buttock to the bottom of the buttock.
  • Maintain proper lower back posture during the exercise.
  • If you feel any numbness, tingling or pain in the leg, discontinue the exercise.
  • Foam roll for 1 minute on each buttock, twice a day.

Deadbug With Heel Taps

  • Lie down on your back with your head towards the wall.
  • Raise your legs one at a time so you have a 90-degree angle at your hips and knees.
  • When both legs are in position, push with your hands on the wall.
  • While keeping core activated and lower back in contact with the floor, begin to slowly lower one leg down, keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees.
  • Lightly tap the floor with your heel, slow and controlled and then return to neutral.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg twice a day.

How Airrosti Can Help

I hope these stretches help you find relief, but if you’ve tried the above exercises and sciatica is still causing you trouble, schedule an appointment with Airrosti today. At Airrosti, our providers will properly diagnose your injury and develop an individualized treatment plan to eliminate pain fast. We’ll help you kick your sciatica to the curb, so you can get back to doing the activities you love most.

View our medical disclaimer here.

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