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Stretches for Sciatic Nerve Pain

First, what causes sciatic nerve pain?

The immediate cause of sciatic nerve pain is tension in the hip flexor muscles (the muscles responsible for flexing your hip joint or bringing your leg up toward your body) particularly the psoas major. The sciatic nerve bifricates (splits) at the the back of pelvis and runs right under the psoas major on the front of both legs. When the psoas major is tense, it presses on or pinches the sciatic nerve and you may experience referred pain radiating through the buttocks and even down and around the leg where the nerve runs. 

But the root cause of sciatic nerve pain is something very different! What makes the hip flexor muscles tense? For one, sitting plays a big role because when we sit we put the hip flexors in a folded and crunched up position for unnatural lengths of time. This of course creates tension in these muscle groups. However, there’s another chronic cause of tense hip flexors: tight hamstrings. 

When the hamstrings are tight and stiff with an accumulation of dense fascia, they won’t shorten or contract and do their job in your body of holding you upright. Instead they push your pelvis up into a flexed position and tilt your whole body forward. You may try to hold yourself up with your shoulders, but ultimately the muscles on the front of the hips bare the weight of your torso… something they are not designed to do. This causes strain and tension in those muscle groups and a common symptom is sciatic nerve pain. Now let’s answer the question, “How do I get rid of sciatic nerve pain?”

Stretches to remove and provide relief from sciatic nerve pain.

For an immediate treatment to sciatic nerve pain we recommend resistance stretches for the hip flexor muscles (Psoas Major and Rectus Femorus). Stretching these muscles with resistance will remove some of the built up tension and take the pressure off of the sciatic nerve - without over stretching or causing more strain. 

Exercises to avoid for sciatic nerve pain are passive stretching and strengthening (sit ups, squats, leg lifts) of the hip flexor muscles. This muscle group is already in a tense and strained state. Passively lengthening it as is done in traditional stretching will aggravate the strain and actively strengthening it will also increase strain.

For a long term solution to sciatic nerve pain, regular stretches for the hamstring muscles, particularly the central hamstring (Semi Tendinonis) are recommended. Stretching the central hamstring with resistance and tension to remove the accumulation of dense fascia will allow this muscle to shorten, the pelvis to extend and remove the symptom of tension in the hip flexors and sciatic nerve pain. 

People often ask us, “how long does it take to find relief from sciatic nerve pain?” Resistance stretches for the hip flexors can give you immediate relief. However, for a long term solution you will need to change the dense fascia that has accumulated over the course of years in your hamstrings. This requires a consistent, regular resistance stretching practice.

Try this short stretching sequence to get relief from Sciatic Nerve pain. Watch now:

16 thoughts on “Stretches for Sciatic Nerve Pain”

    1. Hey Nora! Video 3 is for you!!! We also have a stretch for the hipflexors in our membership that would be great for you. We’ll tell you more about that at the live training.

    2. My pain started while I was jogging , extreme lower back pain last resort a Chriropractor told me I had right leg shorter and gave me a lifter did help no pain until 2 years ago pulled cement block from middle of driveway something popped but didn’t feel pain eight months later I could not lift leg primary dr sent me orthopedic dr had steroid shots epidural went into out patient scope in my groin to rule pug cancer and tumor found labreal tear in my groin after reptious shots and PT whole 1-1/2 anc limp and getting worst dr finally tells me if this is complicating with daily activity I suggest hip replacement, at the beginning he said I was. Not as candidate for hip replacement but then after all this he suggested????…..went to another orthopedic dr he told me I was bone on bone walking with my knee and one of my lower back disc. I had to go surgery all that time living with 24/7 pain. so can I do exercises with a hip replacement anterior type?

      1. yes, you definitely can. I would focus on medial and lateral hamstrings. Come to the Free Training Series happening the end of this month!

  1. I have pain from Sciatic Nerve pain both bum Cheeks and down my legs an injury I had from doing the split s and Groin aches

    1. Hey Trish! This is something we can absolutely help you with. Believe it or not it’s coming from your hamstrings. We have a free training series coming up next week – you’ll get emails about it – definitely sign up – you’ll really get a lot out of it!

  2. Sita. Thank you for the stretches. Are there stretches for numbness in the right foot and up the leg. Dr says it is sciatica but so far I must not be doing the proper stretches. Thankyou for any help

  3. thanks for all those videos, it make sense when I look at it with the explanations! you surely take time to help us! for that I sincerely appreciate it! thanks for all the work you gives us! great motivation !

  4. Amanda Ann Godwin

    I loved this! It’s esp interesting to me to be working with deep muscles and connecting the stretches to emotions. I wonder if y’all would be willing to do a video of all four stretches mentioned for anxiety. I’d also love to see other videos that circle around emotional states or qualities. Or if they already exist can you point us to them? Thanks for the work you do and sharing it with us!

  5. Thanks for the information and exercises can I do this even if I have an anterior goatskin hip replacement I wished I could have done and known all of this type of exercises might have prevented the surgery

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