Sciatica Exercises

Are you experiencing sciatica symptoms? If so, these sciatica exercises are for you. The emphasis of this program is performing stretching exercises that will help to minimize the leg symptoms associated with sciatic leg pain.




Before recommending an exercise program, it is important to point out that sciatica is more of a description of pain than a specific diagnosis. Sciatic symptoms can be very similar to radicular pain associated with a herniated disc. The herniated disc exercises are completely different than sciatica exercises. Before initiating this exercise program seek advice from a qualified medical professional to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

As part of an overall back pain treatment program remember to minimize aggravating activities. For sciatica associated with piriformis syndrome, sitting with your knees higher than your hips will reproduce pain. Until symptoms improve, minimize these activities.

In addition, reducing inflammation is a key part to reducing pain. Utilize ice therapy to minimize inflammation by applying ice to the lower back, 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three times a day. As always, anti-inflammatory medication can also be helpful so consult your doctor regarding appropriate medication.

When performing each stretch you should feel a mild ‘pull’ but NO PAIN. If you do feel pain, reduce the intensity of the stretch. If pain continues, stop performing the stretch.


Sciatica Exercises


Single Knee to Chest Stretch

Single Knee to Chest Stretch

Lie on your back on the floor or a firm surface. Using your hands for assistance, bring one knee up toward your chest. Be careful not to compress the knee. If knee pain occurs use your hands on the back of the thigh instead of the front of the knee. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat three times on each leg, twice a day.


Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring Stretch

Lie on your back on the floor or firm surface. Use a jump rope, dog leash, or belt, and hook it around the ball of your foot on the leg you will be stretching. Keeping the leg straight, use your arms and the rope to lift the leg up. The stretch should be felt in the back of the knee or back of the thigh and should NOT reproduce your leg pain symptoms. Hold this stretch for 60 seconds. Repeat two times for each leg, twice a day.


Piriformis Stretch

Supine Piriformis Stretch

Lie on your back on the floor or firm surface. To stretch the right leg, place the right ankle on the left knee. While maintaining this position, bring the left leg up toward your chest. Use your hands on the back of the left thigh to assist with bringing the left knee up to your chest. You should feel the stretch in the buttocks of the right leg. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat two times on each leg, two times a day.


Sitting Piriformis Stretch

Sitting Piriformis Stretch

While sitting, cross the leg to be stretched by placing the outer aspect of the foot on the knee of the opposite knee. Keeping your lower back straight, lean forward until a stretch is felt in the buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, a few times a day.


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