A 2005 study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine estimated that more than 5 percent of the adult population in the United States suffer from sciatica, and over the course of a lifetime, an individual has a 40 percent chance of experiencing it. The good news? Regular chiropractic care and stretching can help you overcome sciatic nerve pain.
Sciatica is defined as tenderness and pain along the sciatic nerve, typically presenting itself on one side of the body. The sciatic nerves (one for each leg) are the longest nerves in the body, running through your butt muscles all the way down into your foot! Sciatica often presents itself when bending over, running, sitting for long periods of time, or during other typical daily movements. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Pain along the sciatic nerve pathway (lower back, buttock, back of thigh, calf)
- Fatigue or numbness in your legs and/or feet
- A tingling, burning, or pins and needles feeling along the nerve route
- Weakness in the knees when trying to stand up
- Foot drop: a condition where you cannot flex your ankles enough to walk on your heels
- Reduced reflexes in your Achilles and knee
More often than not, sciatica is caused by a herniated or bulging disk in the spine. Through chiropractic adjustments, your doctor of chiropractic can help correct this issue by performing spinal manipulations to remove vertebral subluxations. These adjustments will not only treat your sciatica at its source and provide pain relief, they will help your entire body function as it should.
In between chiropractic adjustments, there are a few stretches you can perform at home to aid in sciatica pain relief and recovery. If you’re suffering from sciatica, please check out these 5 stretches that can help relieve sciatic nerve pain, and then call our office today for your appointment — chiropractic can help!
5 Stretches for Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief
1. Standing Hamstring Stretch
Place your right foot at or below hip level on a support such as a chair, table, or bench. Keep your leg straight and your knee and toes pointing straight up. Make sure the hip of your raised leg is not lifted, but rather is releasing downward (without the leg or foot turning outward). Hold for several breaths, repeating on each side. For a deeper stretch, bend forward over your leg at the hip crease, with your spine and leg straight and your quadriceps firm.
2. Seated Twist
Sit down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you. Take your right foot under your left knee and around to the outside of your left hip. Your right knee should point straight forward. Place your left foot on the floor to the outside of your right knee and place your left hand on the floor behind you. Hold your left knee with your right hand and breathe deeply. Hold for 30 seconds, release, and repeat on the opposite side.
3. Pigeon Stretch
Start on your hands and knees. Bring your right knee forward and out to the right. Bring your right foot forward as well, until your heel is in line with your left hip and your shin is at about a 45-degree angle. Next, lean your upper body forward, tuck your left toes under, and slide or walk your left leg straight back, allowing your right thigh to rotate out passively as your hip descends toward the floor. Keep your hips level to the floor and square to the front of the mat; don’t let your pelvis turn or fall to one side. Rest in the stretch and allow your body to lower as low as it comfortably can. Hold for thirty seconds, release, and repeat on the opposite side.
4. Knee Raise Stretch
Lying on your back, draw one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor and hold for 30 seconds. Relax and lower the knee and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat 2-4x each leg.
5. Cat Pose
Get on your hands and knees and bend your back down and lift your chest by pulling your shoulders back. Breathe deeply while holding the pose for 10 seconds. Return to a flat back and then tuck your chin to your chest and raise your back. Hold for ten seconds and release. Repeat the process for up to two minutes.
Sciatica pain doesn’t have to be a part of your life! Call our office for your appointment today!