Saturday, August 20, 2011

5 Sciatica Nerve Tension Relieving Exercises

Lower Back Stretch
Muscle tension in the lower back can apply pressure to the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatic nerve spasms and the associated pain and discomfort. Stretching muscles in the lower back is recommended by The New York Times to allieviate the pressure the sciatic nerve and reduce the nerve spasm. Begin this exercise by lying on your back. Bring both legs together and bend your knees. Place both arms at the side of your body and slowly roll your knees to one side of the your body. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat this stretch on the other side of your body.
Backward Bend
When you experience sciatic nerve pain, sitting forward is likely to cause more pain because it places pressure on the nerves. To relieve this pain, a physical therapist may recommend backbend stretches to extend the spine. To begin, stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your lower back. Slowly lean back, making a "C" curve with your back. Do not stretch to the point of pain or strain, but instead to where you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back. Take deep breaths as you hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
Hamstring Stretches
When the hamstring muscles are tight, sciatic pain often flares up. Perform hamstring stretches to loosen the muscles and relieve stress on the sciatic nerve. Sit on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you. Stretch your arms out and reach toward your toes while keeping the legs straight. Hold for five to 10 seconds then return to starting position. Repeat three to five times.
Back and Hip Balance Exercise
To balance muscle tension on both sides of the spine and strengthen and balance hip extensor muscles, lie face-down on a mat. Extend your arms overhead and gaze at your fingertips. Extend your legs and point your toes. Inhale and lift your right arm and left leg, holding for a few seconds at the top. Exhale and slowly lower your limbs, then repeat, lifting the left arm and right leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each side. After your final repetition, lift all four limbs, assuming a "Superman" position. Hold and perform a flutter kick, paddling with opposition arms. Continue for a count of 10, then slowly lower to the floor.
Cat Stretch
The Mayo Clinic reports that sciatica often responds well to self-care measures including stretching exercises -- as it helps reduce compression in the nerve root. The low-impact cat stretch targets the muscles of the back, increasing flexibility and mobility. Kneel on your hands and knees. Keep the back of your head aligned with your back so that they run parallel with the floor. Inhale as you pull in your chin and stomach, and arch up your back like a cat. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, and then return to the start position.