Sciatica is a term for pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, the condition only affects one side of your body at a time.
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This can cause inflammation, pain and numbness in the leg.
Although the pain can be severe, most instances of sciatica resolve with noninvasive treatments within a few weeks. If you’re experiencing back, hip, buttocks or leg pain due to sciatica, try these simple exercises to alleviate the discomfort.
Lie on the stomach with legs out and together, elbows bent, and palms on the floor near the chest. Through the palms, partially straighten the elbows to lift the chest off the floor to about 45 degrees. Hold for five seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
Lie on the back with legs extended and feet flexed. Bend the right leg and clasp your hands around the knee for extra support. Gently pull your right leg across your body toward your left shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds. Return the leg to its starting position. Repeat for a total of three reps, and then switch legs.
Sit on the ground with legs straight and feet flexed. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor on the outside of your opposite knee. Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to help you gently turn your body toward the right. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times, then switch sides.
Place your right foot on an elevated surface at hip level. Flex your feet and legs. Bend your body forward towards the foot, deep into the stretch. Release the hip of your raised leg downward. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Then raise the affected leg up and cross your ankle over the opposite knee. Gently bend forward over the crossed leg, holding for 15 to 30 seconds.