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Getting into a car crash doesn’t always cause a whiplash injury. Sometimes, it can cause one of the most debilitating pains that someone can experience called sciatica. If you can imagine having some taking a screwdriver and putting it into a raging fire, and then each time you move wrong, they stab it into your backside. That should give you a fairly decent mental picture of what sciatica feels like. Unfortunately, the pain doesn’t always stay in the glutes. The pain often shoots down through your legs, sometimes all the way to your toes. If you are interested in learning some stretches that can help eliminate that pain, then stay tuned.
Sciatica is commonly mistreated with pain masking drugs when it can easily be corrected with specific stretches to eliminate the whole reason why you have the pain. Now, it’s true that sciatica can come directly from the spine, but over the years that I have been treating sciatica, I rarely see the direct correlation to the spine.
The pain is usually a result of too tight of the Piriformis muscle. The Piriformis muscle is located deep within the butt muscle group. It is a hip rotation muscle that gets stretched out from sitting for too long or over-exertion.
I have seen a number of different stretches out there that claim that they are for the sciatic nerve, and while they do stretch the Piriformis muscle, the efforts tend to be distributed through surrounding muscles that prevent the maximum stretch needed, which leaves the sciatic pain, lingering.
In order to get the most stretch, you need to isolate the Piriformis muscle as demonstrated here. If you have ever driven a manual transmission, this stretch should be easy to make the comparison. It’s very similar to shifting from 2nd gear to 3rd gear. You can either do this stretch seated or lying on your back. The motion is the same, but for people that are not as flexible, lying down may be easier.
Bring the knee up slightly passed the level of your hips. Next, drag it across the body, and then pull the knee up to the opposite shoulder. The important take away is to make sure that you do not pull too hard up to the opposite shoulder. Pull only to the level where you feel a stretch right in your glutes. Once you bring the knee up toward the opposite shoulder, you need to hold that position for 10 seconds. After the 10 seconds, release the pressure making sure that you do not bring the leg back across the body. Hold the relaxed position for 5 seconds and then repeat again. You need to perform each stretch a total of 3 times. After you complete the 3 times on the leg that is suffering from sciatica, make sure that you do the same stretch on the opposite leg.
There are two common areas that you may feel a stretch. The most common one is right at the source of pain. The second area is an indicator of another problem that you may be dealing with. This area is right in the hip flexor area. If you have a pain there while stretching, you will definitely need to work on that muscle group which can be seen demonstrated by clicking on the link below.
This stretch is one that needs to be performed at least twice a day until the pain is gone, and then make sure that you keep stretching for an additional week to ensure that it doesn’t come back.
Sciatica doesn’t have to be apart of your lifestyle. Relying upon medication or shots to eliminate the pain takes away your ability to be in control of your life. Grab the reigns of your lifestyle by taking an active role in your health.