3 Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain and Healing
If you’re here reading this, there’s a good chance you’re like me. Back in 2004, I had a sharp pain in my hip. I saw my doctor about it and he told me that I had sciatica. I went home and researched sciatica on the internet.
Well, I’ve learned a lot of great exercises for sciatic nerve relief over the years, and thankfully I no longer suffer from sciatica. I’d like to share with you some great stretches and exercises called the “McKenzie Method” that have helped me immensely.
McKenzie Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Relief
A physical therapist named Robin McKenzie developed a series of exercises for sciatic nerve relief that can be used either during periods of intense pain and inflammation or as a preventative means to keep your sciatica in check.
These exercises focus on stretching and bending to “centralize” the pain.
What this means is that your goal with these exercises is to try to get the pain you experience to become centralized in the spine, rather than running down your entire leg, for example. So, your goal with these exercises is to relieve the sciatica pain you feel that is furthest away from your spine.
Note: This may temporarily make your pain worse in other areas, but if you stick with this there is a good chance that they will go away as well.
Try to think of this as scooping up all the sciatic pain you’re experiencing and collecting it all at one point on your spine and then taking care of it all at once there.
Try out these stretches and hold them for at least 30 seconds to a minute to see if they help or make things worse at the point furthest from your spine.
The Cobra – This is one of the easiest exercises for sciatic nerve relief. Simply lie on your stomach and then raise your chest up and lift yourself up onto your hands. Let your belly and legs hang freely. (Note: If you are not flexible enough to lift yourself up on your hands, start by just lifting yourself up on your elbows)
Cow / Cat Pose – As with the Cobra, these two exercises for sciatic nerve relief come from yoga. The cow and the cat pose go hand-in-hand.
Start by getting on your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
To do the cow pose, let your belly hang low and allow your hips and head to lift up.
Then switch to the cat pose by arching your upper back and drawing your stomach inward while lower your head. It often helps to imagine that there is a string attached to you right between your shoulders that is pulling you upward.
Alternate back and forth between both of these postures.
The Swan Dive – This is another useful exercise for sciatic nerve relief that focuses on bending forward.
To do this, start by standing upright. Raise your hands up in the air above you. Then lower them while bending forward. Try to reach as low as you can (if you are very flexible, you can probably even touch the floor, but don’t push yourself beyond your limit).
Remember that with these McKenzie exercises, you want to try to centralize the pain by relieving the pain that is farthest away from your spine. So try out these exercises for sciatic nerve relief that will help to get you back up to full speed and enjoying pain-free living once more.