If you’re living with sciatica, back pain, or any other type of chronic pain, you’ve probably heard that certain exercises can help to minimize your pain symptoms. But do you know what types of exercises and stretches are best for sciatica pain relief, leg pain, and lower back pain? If you’re hurting, certain stretches may help ease your symptoms while increasing your strength and flexibility. Our Texas pain specialists at the San Antonio offices of Dr. Raul Martinez have compiled some of the best stretches for sciatica, lower back, and leg pain.
1. For Sciatica: Pigeon Pose—Reclining, Sitting, and Forward
In yoga, pigeon is a pose used to open the hips. The pose helps to stretch the piriformis muscle, which can become inflamed and press painfully against the sciatic nerve. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with the reclining version of the stretch.
For reclining pigeon pose, lay on your back on a yoga mat or towel and bring your right leg up—while keeping your knee bent—until it’s at a right angle with your back. Clasp both of your hands behind your thigh, locking your fingers comfortably. Then, lift your left leg and place your right ankle atop your left knee. Hold this pose for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat on the other side.
For sitting pigeon pose, begin by sitting on the floor with both legs outstretched in front of you (with your toes pointed straight up). Bend your right leg so that your right ankle is on top of your left knee. Then, lean forward until your upper body is either touching or close to your thigh, depending on your flexibility level. Hold for a few seconds then return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.
For forward pigeon pose, begin by kneeling on all fours. Lift your right leg and slowly move it in front of your body, bending it as if you would while sitting cross-legged. As you’re bending your right leg, lower your left knee to the ground and straighten your left leg out behind you. Shift your body weight from your arms to your legs and sit up straight with your hands on either side of you. Then, breathe deeply, and on the exhale, lean your upper body forward over your front leg, supporting your weight with your arms as much as you can. Repeat on the other side.
2. For Lower Back Pain: Child’s Pose
This yoga pose elongates your back and relieves stress while also stretching the hips, thighs, and ankles.
For child’s pose, begin on your hands and knees. Then spread your knees while keeping your big toes touching, and rest your buttocks on your heels, moving into a sitting position and lengthening your spine. Then on an exhale, lean forward with your arms outstretched in front of you until your chest rests either between or on top of your thighs and your forehead is resting on the floor. Hold for up to a minute.
3. For Leg Pain: Calf Stretches and Hamstring Stretches
To perform a calf stretch, stand near a chair that you can hold for balance. Then lift yourself to a tiptoe position and hold this pose for a few seconds before lowering your heels back to the ground. Repeat several times, preferably throughout the day to avoid over stretching.
For hamstring stretches, sit on the floor and bend one leg while resting the foot of your bent leg on the inside of your opposite outstretched leg. Then lean forward while bending at the waist and hold your toes of the outstretched leg (or reach toward your lower leg, depending on your flexibility). Hold for 15-20 seconds before repeating on the other side.
Suffering From Chronic Pain? Our Texas Pain Specialists Want to Help
If you’re struggling to find sciatica pain relief, lower back pain relief, or leg pain relief, the pain management experts at the San Antonio offices of Dr. Raul Martinez are here to help.
We specialize in treating chronic pain, and we offer both surgical and non-surgical treatment options. Our doctors will work with you to customize a treatment plan based on your unique symptoms and needs so that you can get your pain symptoms under control. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, fill out our patient forms or give us a call today.