Sciatic Nerve Stretching Exercise

By S.F. Heron

golfer at the top of his backswing
Maybe you have vivid memories of a round of sciatica sending pain shooting down your right leg. Swinging a club is nearly impossible, as is performing even the most basic daily activities. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower spine down the legs to the feet. This nerve can be irritated by nearby nerve damage and compression of the main sciatic nerve, according to Spine Health. Each individual should have his particular case evaluated by a medical professional. Stretching the sciatic nerve will help alleviate pain and help prevent future flare-ups. Let's look at some basic sciatic nerve stretching exercises.


Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Stretch the piriformis muscle that runs through the hip by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your right ankle on the left thigh just above the knee(like crossing the legs while sitting). Place your hands on the back of the left thigh just above the knee and gently pull back towards the chest to strength the piriformis. You will feel this at the base of your right glute. Hold for 3 counts and repeat 5 times for each side.
  2. Sit on the floor with legs extended forward. Straighten the spine and relax the shoulders. Slowly lean forward with your arms stretching forward but parallel to the floor. Don't bend the knees. You should feel this stretch along the lower back and hamstrings (backs of thighs). Hold without bouncing for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times.
  3. Lie on the floor on your stomach. Place the hands flat on the floor above your shoulders and near your head with your forearms on the floor. Press down onto your elbows as you lift your chest and ribs slowly off the floor. Don't arch the back and make sure this movement isn't jerky. Hold for a 5 count and release back to the floor. Perform 5 times.
  4. Perform a simple cat stretch to alleviate tension along the sciatic nerve. Position your body on hands and knees. Start with a flat back and slowly arch upward like a scared cat. Hold this position for a count of 5 and release. Aim for 10 repetitions of this cat stretch.
  5. Sit on the edge of a chair for this seated hamstring stretch. Extend one leg out straight with weight resting on the heel. Keep the other leg bent at 90 degrees with the foot flat on the floor. Straighten your posture and relax your shoulders. Press forward from the hips without leaning to feel the stretch along the back of the thigh. Repeat 5 times on each side.
  6. Lie on your back with knees bent. Raise one leg straight up above you. Hold onto the back of the thigh for support. Flex your foot up and down--your toes towards your head and then towards the sky several times. This helps loosen the sheath of the sciatic nerve and lessen the pain.

About the Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.