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6 of The Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain and Sciatica

Two women showing the best exercises for lower back pain and sciatica relief

6 of The Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain and Sciatica 

Estimates reveal that up to 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point during their lives, and 5 to 10% of these individuals have sciatica. If you suffer from either of these conditions, you’ll want to continue reading to learn 6 of the best exercises to control your symptoms.

What is Sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, originating in your lower back and splitting to supply your hips, buttocks, legs and feet. Various conditions can place pressure on the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica, including:

  • Disc herniation
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal tumors and infections
  • Spondylolithesis

Symptoms of sciatica vary in severity, ranging from a mild ache to a severe, shooting type of pain and can include:

  • Constant pain in the buttocks and leg on one side of the body
  • Burning, tingling or numbness on the affected side
  • Weakness in the affected leg or foot
  • Pain that is worsened by sitting
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control (in severe cases)

6 Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain and Sciatica

  1. Knee to Opposite Shoulder

  • Begin lying on your back with your legs straight
  • Bend your left leg and clasp both of your hands behind your left knee
  • Gently pull your left knee across your body towards your right shoulder until you feel a slightly stretch
  • Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Aim for 3 repetitions on each side
  1. Seated Spinal Stretch

  • Begin seated on the ground with your legs positioned straight
  • Bend your left knee and place your foot flat on the floor outside of your right knee
  • Position your right elbow on the outside of your left knee
  • Gently turn your body towards the left
  • Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Aim for 3 repetitions on each side 
  1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

  • Begin with your left foot on a chair that is at or below hip level
  • Flex your left foot so that your leg and toes are straight
  • Bend your torso forwards towards your foot until you feel a slight stretch in the back of your thigh
  • Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Aim for 3 repetitions on each side
  1. Figure 4 Stretch

  • Begin by lying on your back
  • Bring your left leg up to a right angle and interlock your fingers behind your thigh
  • Lift your right leg and position your left ankle on top of your right knee
  • Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds
  • Aim for 3 repetitions on each side
  1. Half Cobra Pose

  • Begin lying on your stomach on a flat, firm surface
  • Position your hands next to your shoulders
  • Slowly push your upper body up, while keeping your pelvis in contact with the floor
  • Ensure that you’re looking straight ahead during the stretch
  • Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds
  • Aim for 8 to 10 repetitions
  1. Pigeon Pose

  • Begin by kneeling on all fours on the floor
  • Pick up your left leg and move it forwards to the ground in front of your body, your left foot should be in front of your left knee
  • Stretch your right leg behind you on the floor so that the top of your foot is on the ground and your toes are pointing back
  • Slowly shift your weight from your arms to your legs
  • Sit straight with your hands positioned at the sides of your legs
  • Inhale deeply and then lean your upper body towards your front leg while you exhale and use your arms to support your weight as much as possible
  • Aim for 3 repetitions on each side

Conclusion

In many cases, you’ll be able to control your lower back and sciatica pain by performing these stretches from the comfort of your own home. However, in some cases, you may need additional support. The physical therapists at Blue Hills Sports & Spine Rehabilitation can evaluate your condition and help to minimize your pain and improve the function of your body so that you can get back to your normal routine without the pain.

 

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