5 Exercises That Help Relieve Sciatica Pain

An illustration of a herniated disc in the spinal cord

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Sciatica pain can be intense. The level of pain may be different for everyone, and depending on how much it affects your body, sciatica can prevent you from working, spending time with loved ones, and otherwise living your life. 

It has several potential underlying causes, although 90% of cases stem from your sciatic nerve being pinched by a spinal herniated disc or a bone overgrowth on your spine. Although many cases remit spontaneously over the course of weeks or months, the pain in the meantime can be almost unbearable. Not only is sciatica painful, it can be potentially damaging to your nerves.

(Note:  Learn how we treat the root cause of sciatica)

Sciatica treatment is difficult but not impossible. A combination of physical therapy, weight control, and NSAIDs can help, but you’ll get the most benefit from a systematically and scientifically accurate approach to chiropractic.

It might seem counterintuitive, but exercise is actually better for treating sciatica pain than bed rest. Without enough movement, your muscles become deconditioned and weak, making you more prone to back injury and strain, further exacerbating the pain and possibly damaging the nerves. 

The good news is that you can do something to relieve yourself of sciatica pain without leaving your home. We’ve put together a list of 5 simple exercises that can help reduce acute sciatica pain. Exercise programs for sciatica can depend on its underlying cause, but will almost always feature exercises that promote core strength in the back and abdominal muscles.

These 5 exercises can help relieve and prevent sciatica pain.


Knee to chest stretch

This stretch helps promote lower back flexibility. Starting on your back with a cushion beneath your head, bend your knees while keeping your feet straight and your legs hip width apart. With your upper body relaxed, bend one knee up toward your chest, grasping it with both hands. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

Start doing the knee to chest stretch with one leg. If you don’t experience any pain lifting one leg after a couple of days, you can start lifting both knees to your chest.


Sciatic mobilizing stretch

Designed to mobilize the hamstrings and sciatic nerve, this stretch begins on a mat with a cushion under your head and neck. With your knees bent and your legs hip width apart, bend one knee up to your chest. Grasping the hamstring, slowly straighten the knee while pulling your foot toward you. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Go back to the starting position and do the same with your other leg. Repeat the exercises alternating between both legs.


Back extensions

Lie on your stomach, propping yourself up on your elbows. Keep your shoulders back, your neck long, and your back extended. Then, push down on your hands to arch up your back. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.


Standing hamstring stretch

Standing up, raise one leg onto a stable object, such as a step or a sturdy chair. Keep the leg straight, with your foot flexed so that your toes are pointing straight up. Keeping your back completely straight, lean forward and hold for 20-30 seconds. Keep your back straight to avoid crouching over your leg.


Deep gluteal stretch

Laying on your back with a small cushion under your head, bend your left leg and rest your right foot on your left thigh. Then, grasp the left thigh, and pull it toward you. Keep your hips straight and your tailbone on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Take it slowly, especially if you’re new to glute stretches.


Exercises alone will not prevent sciatica or cure sciatica, but with a scientific and systematic chiropractic treatment plan, you can see significant long-term results. The right exercises can, however, reduce pain in the short term. 

Chiropractic care can also be a significant part of an overall regimen to manage and reduce pain during recovery. 

Along with exercises and physical therapy, chiropractic treatment has been shown to produce improvement in sciatica symptoms. In a 2010 study, 60% of sciatica patients who received chiropractic care three times a week for four weeks experienced the same degree of relief as those who underwent surgery.

If you’re struggling with sciatica pain, reach out to us any time at Intero Chiropractic. We’re always available for a 100% free consultation, along with a full neurological exam for only $40

Intero Chiropractic clinic uses a scientific and systematic approach to pinpoint the exact cause of your sciatica pain. Our team will design a custom care sciatica treatment plan for you so you can get back to doing the things you love and gain confidence in your body again. Book an appointment with us today.

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