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Exercise for sciatica (sciatic neuralgia)

In medicine, the term sciatica is understood as inflammation of the sciatic nerve, provoked by various factors of an ethological nature. The disease can be the result of infectious lesions, diseases of the pelvic organs, hernia, spinal injuries, displacement of the vertebrae or discs. The treatment of the disease is usually complex, and it is aimed at eliminating the cause and removing symptoms. An important component of therapy is gymnastics with sciatica, represented by a large number of complexes. Exercises are selected individually. Consider what they can be.

Signs of inflammation

Inflammation of the sciatic nerve makes itself felt by the following symptoms:

  • Acute pain when leaning forward.
    Neuralgia in the buttocks, which can intensify.
  • Unpleasant sensations in the buttocks and lower back.
  • With movements, sharp and unexpected pains are possible.

If you notice these symptoms, consult your doctor right away. Otherwise, the sciatic nerve may become inflamed even more, and the pain will intensify.

Exercises for sciatica sciatica: basic rules

Exercises should be prescribed by a doctor individually. He explains how to perform them correctly, in the future, you can perform them yourself.

Therapeutic exercises for sciatica should be performed in accordance with the following rules:

  • The complex must be performed every day, preferably twice a day.
  • Performing exercises is recommended on a flat and hard surface. There should be no drafts in the room. It is best to lay a rug or karemat on the floor.
  • With exacerbation of inflammation, you need to temporarily stop gymnastics.
  • Exercises are done at a moderate pace. Under the ban fast and sharp turns, inclinations, rising, and more. Jumping is contraindicated in sciatica.

A set of exercises for sciatica

The exercises listed below should be performed at a time when severe pain has passed. With exacerbation, they are contraindicated, since they are not aimed at relieving pain. Exercises are performed in three positions - lying, standing and sitting.

In the supine position, the following exercises are performed:

  • Lying on your back, pull two knees to your chest, grasp your buttocks with your hands. Hold in this position for half a minute, return to the starting position. Repeat ten times.
  • Lying on your back, grasp the left knee with both hands and very gently pull it to the right shoulder, hold for 8 seconds, then lower yourself. The same thing is repeated for the right leg. Repeat 10 times.
  • Lie on your back, bend two legs, try to push the back muscles into the floor muscles. In this position, linger for half a minute, then relax. Do 10 reps.
  • Lie on your side, pull your socks out. Bend your legs, try to pull them to the chest as much as possible, and then slowly straighten. Do it 10 times.
  • Lie on your stomach, rest on your arms bent in front. Flexing your elbows, stretch your back as far as possible, aiming upward with the crown of your head. Feet should not be lifted. After a few seconds, gently and carefully lower yourself to the floor. To begin with, it is enough to do five repetitions, and eventually increase them to 15.
  • In the supine position, pull the feet closer to the buttocks, rest them on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest. As you inhale, gently raise your torso until your shoulders are completely off the floor. As you exhale, return to starting position. Run at least 15 times.

Exercise for sciatica while sitting:

  • While sitting on the floor, stretch your straight legs forward. Raise your straight arms to shoulder level, try to put them behind your back, connecting the shoulder blades. The movements should be smooth, without jerking. Do five times.
  • Sit on the floor, raise your hands above your head and gently lower yourself onto your back. Then gently lift the legs wide apart at a right angle. At the same time, make sure that the shoulder blades do not come off the floor, as well as the lower back, as this gives additional loads on the spinal column.
  • While sitting on a chair, rotate the body with your hands behind your head. To begin with, it is enough to perform five repetitions in each direction.

Standing exercises:

  • Stand straight, stretch your back as far as possible, put your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your right hand up, lower your left along the body. Lean to the left so that the right hand is located clearly above the head, not moving either backward or forward. Lean until the arm and body are parallel to the floor surface. Then return to the starting position, inhale, exhale, bend to the right. Do five repetitions for the right side.
  • Keeping your back straight, kneel down, clasp your fingers and extend them above your head. Lean forward gently until you touch the floor with your hands, then gently straighten. Repeat 5-10 times.

There is also therapeutic exercise for sciatica, aimed at relieving sharp back pain, which in this condition is a consequence of squeezing the roots of the sciatic nerve. The following two exercises help to cope with this:

  • Stand facing any horizontal surface roughly at the level of your hip joints. You can use a table, bed and so on. Gently lay the case on this surface, relax. Take a deep breath, inflating the walls of the abdomen, linger for 4-5 seconds and exhale as much as possible. The number of repetitions must be at least three.
  • Sit down on the floor, lean on your palms and knees. The back should be kept in a neutral position, without deflection. Relax your neck, head down. Inhale slowly with your stomach, hold your breath for five seconds and exhale. Repeat this breathing exercise 7-8 times. This will help to feel how the pain gradually recedes.

Gymnastics with sciatica according to Bubnovsky

Well established gymnastics with sciatica sciatic nerve according to the method of Bubnovsky. When developing complexes, the author advises taking into account general well-being, age-related features, and the level of fitness of the patient’s muscles. It is also important to adhere to the program, do the exercises consciously and not to miss classes.

The initial set of exercises includes various movements aimed at stretching the muscles and ligaments:

  • Relaxation of the lower back on all fours (exercise "cat").
  • From the position of the cat, bend your back alternately while inhaling and bend it as you exhale. Do up to 20 repetitions.
  • In the same position, move with a stretching step, alternately pushing the buttocks to the left or to the right heel, stretch your free leg forward. Pull the arm opposite the extended leg forward as far as possible. Do up to 20 times.
  • In a similar starting position, stretch your arms forward as much as possible, while maintaining emphasis on your knees and elbows.
  • Return to starting position. As you exhale, lower the body to the floor, bending your arms, inhaling below, and straightening them out again as you exhale. At the same time, the heels sink to the buttocks. You should feel the stretching of the muscles of the lower back. Repeat 5-6 times.
  • Lie on your back, bend your knees, put your heels closer to your buttocks, and place your hands under your head. Press your chin to your chest, while exhaling, reach to your knees with your elbows. When you inhale, return to the supine position, stretching your stomach. Repeat until tired.
  • From a similar position, stretch your arms along the body and raise and lower the pelvis as you exhale and inhale, respectively. Focus on your feelings. The optimal number of repetitions is 30 times.

The exercises in the supine position can be supplemented by an ice compress placed under the lower back. This will make it possible to relieve pain.

Yoga with sciatica

With inflammation of the sciatic nerve, yoga is very helpful. It helps to strengthen muscles, improves the flexibility of the spine and its mobility. The following yoga movements are useful for sciatica:

  • Sit on the floor, straighten your legs. Bend the right leg at the knee, the foot of the right leg is carried over the left leg and is located on the line with the knee of the left leg. Turn your body to the right. The left hand is lifted over the right knee and touches the floor. In this position you need to linger for a minute. Then change the position of the arms and legs and make a turn in the other direction.
  • Stand straight, step forward with your right foot. Tilt the body, keeping your back straight, with your left hand touch the right foot, pull your right hand up, and turn the body to the right. Linger in this position for a few seconds. After the case you need to straighten. Instead of the right hand, set the left and repeat the movement.

These exercises need to be done slowly and smoothly. It is recommended to repeat them 2-3 times during the day.

Therapeutic gymnastics with inflammation of the sciatic nerve helps to alleviate the condition and relieve discomfort, helps to relax muscles, improve posture. However, for the complete cure of sciatica only it is usually not enough. We need a full range of measures, which also includes medical treatment, physiotherapy, a daily regimen prescribed by a specialist and compliance with other doctor's recommendations.

From physiotherapy, the use of a laser, a magnetic field, and electrophoresis may be indicated.

Another measure that can be shown with sciatica is massage. It is recommended to do it with an exacerbation of the disease. With gentle movements, begin to knead or stroke the lower back, back of the thigh, buttocks, lower leg, and foot. Massage will help relieve unpleasant symptoms, reduce pain.

We suggest watching a video on which exercises are presented that help in the treatment of sciatica.

1. Pose of a lying dove

Pigeon pose is a normal yoga pose. It is aimed at opening the hip joints. There are several variations of this stretching exercise. The first is the initial version, known as the pose of a reclining dove. If you are just starting treatment, you should try this exercise first.

  • Lying on your back, lift your right leg at a right angle. Clasp your hands into the lock, clasping your hip.
  • Lift your left leg and place your right ankle over the left knee.
  • Hold the position for a moment. This helps to stretch the tiny piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes inflamed and clings to the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
  • Do the same exercise with the other leg.

As soon as you can pose the lying pigeon without pain, work with your physiotherapist in a seated pigeon pose and leaning forward.

2. The pose of a seated dove

  • Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you.
  • Bend your right leg with your right ankle over your left knee.
  • Lean forward and let your upper body come closer to your hip.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds. The load falls on the buttocks and lower back, which makes it possible to stretch these muscles.
  • Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

3. Pigeon pose with bends forward

  • Get on all fours.
  • Lift your right leg and move it forward to the floor in front of your body. Your lower leg should be on the floor, and have a horizontal position in relation to the body. Your right foot should be in front of your right knee while the right knee remains on the right.
  • Straighten and stretch your left leg behind you on the floor. The upper part of the foot and toes should rest against the floor.
  • Move your body weight from arms to legs so that your legs support your weight.
  • Take a deep breath. While exhaling, tilt your upper body forward towards your front leg. Lift your weight with your hands as much as possible.
  • Repeat the exercise by swapping legs.

4. Knee to the opposite shoulder

You can also try the following effective exercise for sciatica at home. This simple stretching exercise helps relieve sciatica pain by loosening the gluteus and piriformis muscles, which can become inflamed and cling to the sciatic nerve.

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended so that your toes point up.
  • Bend your right leg and wrap your arms around the knee.
  • Gently pull your right knee toward your left shoulder. Hold your knee in this position for 30 seconds. Remember to pull your knee only until it is comfortable. You should feel a relief in the muscles, not pain.
  • Return your foot to its original position.
  • This exercise should be done in 3 repetitions, and then you need to change the leg.

5. Seated spinal stretch

A set of exercises for sciatica includes a sedentary spinal stretch. Since sciatica often occurs when the vertebrae are compressed in the spine, this stretching exercise helps create space in the spine to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.

  • Sit on the ground with your legs extended so that your socks look up.
  • Bend your right knee and lay your foot on the floor behind the opposite knee.
  • Place your left elbow outside of your right knee - this will help you gently rotate your body to the right.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
  • Change your leg and do the exercise the other way.

6. Hamstring Stretch

Gymnastics for pinching the sciatic nerve involves stretching the hamstring, as this exercise can help relieve sciatica-caused pain and stiffness in the knee joint.

  • Place your right foot on a raised surface at or below hip level. It can be a chair, ottoman or a step on the stairs. Your toes should be directed strictly top, and the leg should be fully extended. If your knee bends, try to keep the bend as small as possible.
  • Tilt your body a little closer to your leg. The stronger you bend, the deeper the stretch occurs. Do not bend until you feel pain.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Exercise caution when pinching the sciatic nerve

Dr. Kovacs emphasizes that you should not assume that you will be as flexible as these exercises require. "Do not think that, what you see on YouTube or TV, you must repeat exactly"He says. "Most people who demonstrate exercise have great flexibility and have been doing this for many years. If you experience any pain during exercise, you should stop».

Corina Martinez (physiotherapist at the sports medicine center Duke Sports Medicine Center and member American Medical Society of Sports Medicine), says that for people with symptoms of sciatic nerve inflammation, there are no universal exercises. She suggests practicing therapeutic gymnastics very carefully, for example, slightly stretching your knees and trying to feel whether this brings relief. "If you feel better, this is the treatment for sciatica with the exercises you need.“, She advises.

Martinez says that anyone who experiences even minor pain in the sciatic nerve for more than a month should see a doctor or physiotherapist. He will be helped to individually develop a home exercise program that can help get rid of their pain.

The first line of intervention for sciatic neuralgia must necessarily be physical therapy, because it is active, it is educational, and its main goal is to restore the function and independence of each patient.

The goal is to find experienced, trained physiotherapists who combine an understanding of alignment, movement, and therapeutic exercises for sciatic nerve inflammation, and are able to develop a clear treatment plan to achieve measurable goals. After that, it remains to take an active part in the program!

The Importance of Exercise for Sciatica

Sciatica - inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Curvature of the spine and the resulting incorrect distribution of weight and pressure compress the nerve, make it sensitive, provoke pain (in detail about the symptoms). Physical activity is one of the most effective ways. correct the situation.

Exercise is in no way inferior to gels, pills and ointments, and even surpass them in its beneficial effect. Physiotherapy exercises with sciatica can reach the source of the disease - spinal problems. At a young age, correction of lungs and middle curvatures is possible with exclusively correctly selected exercises. In addition to the long-term goal, therapeutic exercises with sciatica sciatic nerve relieves pain and spasm from the first lessons.

Only a qualified doctor and diagnostic equipment can help you with this. Contraindications are most often intervertebral hernias, acute forms of radiculitis and osteochondrosis, pregnancy imposes significant restrictions. And also it should be said about the importance of not overdoing the load. Overstrain is likely to cause the opposite effect - the back will only begin to hurt more.

Physiotherapy exercises (LFK)

Exercise therapy for sciatica is also called therapeutic exercises. Exercise with sciatica sciatica is performed in different positions - standing, sitting, lying down, and some are associated with walking or balancing (standing on one leg). Another significant difference is the use of physiotherapeutic devices. These include balloons, elastic bands. In the simplest case, an ordinary chair can become an assistant.

One of the easiest exercises in physiotherapy performed while lying down. To do this, lie on your back, on a flat and hard surface. If you are too hard on the floor, you can lay a thin blanket. Then, resting on the feet, you should raise the pelvis up. Keep him in this position for a short time - 5-10 seconds will be enough.

Next, return to the original position and repeat. The number of repetitions in one approach is 10–15 times. For the best effect, it is best to follow three approaches. It is important not to help yourself with your hands, as the back and lumbar muscles should work. It looks like this (in pictures):

Other exercise is performed while sitting. The patient should sit on the floor and stretch his legs forward:

Then the arms are spread apart and pulled back, behind. The recommended number of repetitions is 5–10.

You can use a chair. To do this, sit on a chair and cross your legs. The back must be kept straight. Then they begin to turn the case left and right. The number of repetitions is 10-15 times. After that, the legs are swapped and the same number of turns of the body are made.

The next main position is a standing position. Easy and effective exercise starts with the right posture. It is necessary to stand on the floor, then legs are spread apart shoulder-width apart and raise one hand up, the second is lowered down. The movement is repeated in the reverse order, that is, first left above, then right. A hand is pulled, you should feel a roll of muscles and a certain stretch. Together with the hand, the whole body leans.

Five slopes on each side will be sufficient for one approach. The optimum is considered to be 2-3 approaches. The slope looks like this:

A well-known stretch with sciatica will be well-known castle exercise. Stand straight and take one hand in the other, making a grab:

To enhance the effect, you can keep your palms and fingers tight, but try to stretch this lock with the muscles of your hands. Although the upper back works for the most part, the lower back also moves and stretches.


It is advisable not to limit the treatment of sciatica with fitness exercises, but to supplement it with other methods. It has a very good effect. massage, manual therapy, warming up. You can carry out the simplest procedures at home. For example, a warm bath with additives has beneficial effects on sciatic nerve inflammation.

The benefits of physical activity are obvious, but even so, caution should be exercised.

Therefore, a preliminary consultation with a doctor is considered optimal for him to prescribe an individual exercise program for you.