If you’ve ever experienced hip or lower back pain, chances are it was a direct result of an irritation of the sciatic nerve. This pain can spread downwards and also affect the limbs and feet as well. Many people suffer from this pain and it can make their daily routines challenging.
If you are unfamiliar with where the sciatic nerve is, it’s located deep in the buttocks. Because it surrounds the piriformis muscle, any constriction or swelling to the muscle could lead to irritation of the nerve and possibly pain as well. The piriformis muscle connects the top of the femur to the spine, and it’s the main one that supports the outward movement of the hip, upper leg, and foot.
However, the sciatic nerve can sometimes pass through this muscle and this causes sciatica symptoms or known as piriformis syndrome. Many people use medication to numb the pain, but that won’t fix the irritation issue and you’ll just end up on medications for the rest of your life. Instead, try the following piriformis stretches which offer incredible effects.
Supine Piriformis Stretch: Begin by lying down with your knees bent upwards. Then cross the affected leg over the other leg, by bending it upwards towards the chest. Next, you will want to grab your knee with one hand and your ankle with the other hand and pull slowly towards the shoulder which is in line with your ankle. If you are doing it correctly, you will feel a stretch through the glutes in the buttocks.
Standing Piriformis Stretch: This is another good exercise for sciatica pain relief. Start in a standing position and place the affected leg over the other leg’s knee. If it looks like the number 4, you’re doing it right. Next, slowly lower your hips towards the ground at a 45-degree angle. Lean forward with your torso and extend your arms to the ground and make sure your spine is straight at all times.
Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch: Begin by laying on your back and bending the affected leg upward by placing your foot close to the back of your other leg’s knee. Next, tuck your foot behind the knee and twist your leg to the opposite side with the knee facing out. Next, place your hand on the knee, and raise your other arm in the air. Then slowly start lowering your arm towards the opposite direction of the knee.
Long Adductor (Groin) Stretch: Begin by sitting on the floor and stretch your legs out and keep them as far apart as possible. Then gently lift your torso forward towards the ground and place both hands on the floor next to each other. If you want to take it further, try and touch your elbows to the ground by leaning forward.
Short Adductor (Inner Thigh) Stretch: Start by sitting on the ground and putting the soles of your feet together. Then hold both ankles with the opposite hands. Gently push downward with your knees and try to touch the ground with them. If you begin to feel pain, stop and take it back an inch or two.
Slide Lying Clam Exercise: Lay on your side with the affected hip on top. Bend your legs backwards so it looks like an L shape, and make sure one foot is over the other. Also, make sure your spine is straight and your affected hip is parallel to your other one. Now, keep your feet together and raise the top knee upward and then bring it down slowly.
Hip Extension Exercise: Get on the ground on all fours and make sure your hands are in line with your shoulders. Tilt your weight off the affected leg and raise it upward with your knee bent. Then lower your leg slowly to the starting position.
Supine Piriformis Side Stretch: Lay on your back with your legs flat and begin to bend the affected leg upward and place the foot on the outer side of the other leg, near the knee. Using the opposite hand, gently pull the knee of the affected leg across the middle of your body until you feel a stretch. Make sure to keep your shoulders and hips on the ground at all times.