Pain in the lower back and the hips can be caused by an irritation of the sciatica nerve. This type of pain can also spread to the feet and the limbs. Sciatica pain is experienced by many people and it can affect your normal everyday life.

The sciatica nerve is located down deep in your buttocks area. It is extreme close to the piriformis muscle, so swelling or constriction of this muscle can cause irritation of the sciatica nerve and pain.

This muscle is the main one that allows outward movement of the feet, the upper part of the legs and the hips. It also connects the spine with the upper part of the femur. Beneath the piriformis muscle, there is the sciatic nerve.

However, the sciatic nerve can also pass through the piriformis muscle, which can cause sciatica symptoms due to a syndrome called piriformis syndrome. The people with this syndrome experience pain in the hip area and the lower back, which can eventually lead to poor balance and movement.

The major cause of sciatica is swelling or constriction of this muscle, which is caused by a spasm or injury. However, when you experience this type of pain, you have to consult a doctor in order to check if there is some other serious problem that causes the pain.

Exercises that reduce pain caused by sciatica

Certain piriformis stretches are able to reduce the pain caused by sciatica. However, you have to be careful and stay within your comfort limits. This means that you should not feel pain while doing the exercises. If you go too far, you may even worsen your condition.

You must also warm up before starting with any of the stretches. You can warm up with going up and down the stairs slowly, marching in one place or taking a walk. No matter which warm up activity you do, you have to do it for several minutes before starting with the stretches.

After the warm up, you can choose some of these piriformis stretches that will certainly help you with your pain.

Remember that you must stay within your comfort zone and don’t cause any further damage with overdoing.

You should also consult your doctor or spine specialist before trying out these stretches.

Supine stretch

• Lie down on the ground and bend your knees upwards.
• Cross the leg where you experience pain above the other leg and bend it upward towards the chest.
• Hold your knee with one hand and your ankle with the other. Pull slowly towards your shoulders until you feel a stretch through the glutes.
• Remain in this position for a half or 1 minute and then release.

You should not feel pinching in the front part of your thigh. If you feel this, stretch the hip flexors before the piriformis stretch.

If you don’t experience a stretch in the glutes of the buttocks, cross your legs and pull the other leg towards your chest by holding it behind the thigh.

In the video, you can check out the stretch.

Standing stretch

• In a standing position, place the painful leg over the knee of your other leg.
• Lower the hip towards the ground slowly until you reach a 45 degree angle. Meanwhile, bend the other leg.
• Lean forward, extend your arms to be parallel to the ground. Your spine should remain straight.
• Remain in this position for 30 seconds or 1 minute and repeat the stretch with the other leg.

If you have balance problems, lean your back on a wall. Your feet should be 24 inches away from the wall. The wall will provide you with the needed support.

Outer hip stretch

• Lie down on the ground, bend the painful leg upward by placing the foot next to the back of the knee of the other leg.
• Place the foot behind the knee of the other leg, twist the leg to the opposite side, while the knee touches or faces the ground.
• Place the opposite hand on the knee and raise the other arm.
• Start to lower the raised arm towards the opposite direction of the knee trying to touch the shoulder.
• Remain in this position for 20 seconds and then repeat the stretch with the other leg.
• After stretching both legs, return in a lying position and stretch both of your legs in the same time. Bend the knees and pull them towards the chest with your hands.

If you are not able to touch your shoulder in the stretch, it is not serious. Remember that you must stay in the limits of your comfort.

Long adductor stretch

• Sit on the floor and position your legs in front of you.
• Tilt your torso towards the ground slowly. Position your hands on the floor next to each other.
• Try to touch the ground with your elbows. Lean forward until you feel comfortable. You should not experience pain.
• Remain in this position for 10 seconds.

If you experience pain in your thighs or legs, you should do another stretch before doing this one.

Short adductor stretch

• Put the feet together in front of the pelvis while sitting on the floor.
• Hold your ankles with the opposite hand. Hold the left ankle with the right hand and the right ankle with the left hand.
• Push downwards with the knees gently, as you are trying to touch the floor with them. Remember that you must not experience pain. If you feel it, return for an inch or two and remain in that position.
• Remain in that position for half a minute, release and flutter the legs like a butterfly for half a minute.
• For a deeper stretch, you can push the knees downwards with your elbows. For even deeper stretching, bend the torso forward, but you must keep your back straight for the entire time.

Side lying clam stretch

• Lay on the ground, on the side, while positioning the painful leg on top.
• Bend the legs backwards to make an L shape. Keep your feet over each other as well as the legs.
• Your spine and whole body should be kept straight. The painful leg must remain on top of the other leg.
• Keep the legs together and raise the top knee upward. Be careful. The body must remain in the same position.
• Then, slowly return the knee in the first position. Repeat this stretch 15 times.

Hip extension stretch

• Get on the ground on all four or place both your knees and hands on the floor. The hands must be in line with the shoulders.
• Reposition the weight of the painful leg and raise it upward towards the ceiling. Keep the knee bent.
• Then, slowly lower the legs to achieve a straight position. Repeat this stretch 15 times.

Supine stretch 2

• Lie on the floor and keep your legs flat and the back straight.
• Bend the painful leg upward and position the foot on the other side of the other leg near your knee.
• With the other hand, pull the knee of the painful leg gently across the midline of the body until you feel stretching. If you experience pain, loosen up the stretching. While performing the stretch, don’t lift the hips and the shoulders from the floor.
• Remain in this position for half a minute and return to the beginning position and then do the stretch with the other leg. Repeat this 23 times.

Buttocks stretch

• Get yourself on all fours on the ground or position your knees and hands on the ground.
• Bring the foot of the painful leg under the truck and twist it to the opposite side, near the hip. Point with the knee towards your shoulder.
• Lower the head, until you touch the ground with the forehead and lean the forearm on the floor for support.
• Then, keep the pelvis straight and stretch the other leg behind you.
• Push the hips towards the ground slowly.
• Remain in this position for half a minute. Repeat the stretch 23 times.

Seating stretch

• Sit on a chair and cross the painful leg over the other.
• Lean forward while keeping the spine straight.
• Remain like this for a few seconds and then bend forward a bit more.
• Remain like this for half a minute. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.